Ex-inspector debunks Michelin 'myth'

13th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 12 (AFP) - Not all restaurants awarded three stars in the prestigious Michelin guides are up to that high standard and not all are vetted as often as the public would believe, a former inspector for what is considered the "bible" of Europe's best tables said Thursday.

PARIS, Feb 12 (AFP) - Not all restaurants awarded three stars in the prestigious Michelin guides are up to that high standard and not all are vetted as often as the public would believe, a former inspector for what is considered the "bible" of Europe's best tables said Thursday.

 Pascal Remy, who was sacked after working 16 years for the famous 104-year-old Michelin Red Guide, told Europe 1 radio the company had less than a dozen inspectors at work at any one time and each tested only about 200 restaurants per year - a mere fraction of the eateries listed.

"There's a myth that 'the inspector comes each year'. In fact, it used to be every two years, and now it's every three and a half years," he said.

He also told an issue of Figaro Magazine to be published Saturday that certain restaurants were "untouchable" - meaning they could never be demoted - and that "more than a third" of the three-star establishments were "not up to scratch".

An outraged Michelin noted that Remy had broken a confidentiality clause in his contract and that he had been fired for a "serious fault".

The Briton who currently manages the guides, Derek Brown, told AFP the allegations were "sad".

"We have 100 inspectors for all of Europe and we move them around as needed," he said.

As for the claim of some restaurants being untouchable, he said: "It wouldn't make any sense to promote a restaurant unless it was justified."

Michelin is due to release its 2004 edition of the best restaurants in France in two weeks.

A pre-release list given to media elevated three restaurants to the three-star category - considered the ultimate accolade for an eatery.

Such a reputation can boost restaurant revenue and bring fame and fortune to a chef, as rich French people and tourists flock to the tables on the basis of the guide's evaluation.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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