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Michelin Survives Another Year With 2020 Awards, Still Irrelevant

By Sep 19, 2019 Dining

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By now, you’ve probably already heard the news, bashed out by rows of media with laptops at the press conference: Michelin has manufactured more stars. The news was that Stefan Stiller’s Tai’an Table upgraded its celestial real estate to two stars. Even bigger was that Yilong Court lost a star, and so did T’ang Court, which has gone from three to two to one in four years. Bigger still was that the list leaked minutes before the press conference started, sucking the drama out of the whole self-interested exercise. But the biggest news, except to a handful of chefs and restaurant owners? Michelin is still irrelevant.

My argument is simple. Of the ten most memorable meals of my life, only one involved a star. Because good food — great food — is hardly confined to the fine-dining traps that Michelin promotes through its star system.

Michelin is spreading this idea that we must enjoy fine dining, because these are the best restaurants in the world, and if we don’t agree, then our tastes are not refined enough to understand. It’s a dictatorship, a suffocating snob state, aligned with one very narrow definition of cuisine that most people don’t identify with. Starched tablecloths and long tasting menus give me anxiety. I can’t stand it.

Great meals are rarely predicated on some chef’s apple gelee and Escoffierisms. The best meals are the simple ones, with great company, with people you love, with great people you love, all getting toasted on some alcoholic beverages — or not! — and spending time together.

It could be at a noodle shop or a KFC or a durian stall in Singapore late at night or someone’s house or a restaurant that no Michelin inspector would dare enter. Most of the time it hardly matters.

What matters is having your own taste, your own opinions and knowing how to enjoy the moment, no matter what you’re eating.

And Michelin cannot guide you to that.

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7 comments.

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  • 26 days ago globaltraveller

    Wonderfully on point...The best meals are the simple ones, with great company, with people you love, with great people you love, all getting toasted on some alcoholic beverages — or not! — and spending time together.

  • 25 days ago Deep-fish

    I feel strangely good after reading this

  • 24 days ago giovannilee85

    I perfectly agree! Furthermore the standard they follow is somehow French biased and unappreciative of other realities) The star ( or the stars ) is a pressure to the customers pocket and to the restaurant team ( owner)

  • 24 days ago JayceeJT

    Totally agree. One of my favourite places to eat in Shanghai for instance is a little hole in the wall that makes Grilled Cheese sandwiches - Co. Cheese.

  • 22 days ago Kharanet Unverified User

    You had me until KFC and durian.

    No great meal was ever had involving either of the above.

  • 20 days ago Davidyxlu

    Apparently anything that you don't agree with is "irrelevant?" Sorry, Michelin stars are in fact very relevant to the people who care about them. Maybe that's not your thing? That's fine, but what's the sense in disparaging it? You could essentially make the same senseless article about any award given by anyone for anything, why target Michelin?

  • 20 days ago the other alex

    @Davidyxlu Heaven forbid anyone point out the outsize influence this bloated institution wields.

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