Michelin pulls food guide after erroneous review

27th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 27 (AFP) - Michelin has taken the unprecedented move of pulling a version of its renowned restaurant guide from sale after it was revealed it included a rave review for a restaurant that was not even open for inspection.

PARIS, Jan 27 (AFP) - Michelin has taken the unprecedented move of pulling a version of its renowned restaurant guide from sale after it was revealed it included a rave review for a restaurant that was not even open for inspection.

The Michelin Benelux Red Guide 2005 - which covers restaurants and hotels in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg - "is withdrawn from sale because it contains an error concerning the attribution of a Bib Gourmand," the French company said Thursday, three days after the book went on sale.

Its statement followed a report in the Belgian newspaper Le Soir that said that a Belgian restaurant, Ostend Queen, had received the "Bib Gourmand" - an honour designating a place as having excellent food at a moderate price - even though it only opened January 8, several weeks after the guide went to the printers.

Michelin admitted that its procedures, which entail anonymous inspectors dropping into restaurants to grade them for the guide, "had not been respected" and promised to have a new version of the book in stores "within around two months."

The company said it was the first time in its history that it had withdrawn a guide.

Its Benelux Red Guide was released on Monday with 50,000 copies put on sale.

A good review in the pages of any of its foodie guides can greatly boost a restaurant's reputation - and income.

But Michelin's own reputation has suffered recently.

An inspector who worked for the France guide was sacked after writing a book in which he said there were too few inspectors carrying out the huge task of evaluating restaurants and that some chefs were treated as above criticism.

In its report, Le Soir quoted the owner of the Ostend Queen restaurant, Fernand David, saying his place got into the guide because of "good relations" he had with Michelin and because he was "sponsored" by an established three-star chef.

Michelin executives visited the site of the restaurant in November last year, when it was nothing more than "a huge construction site," he said.

"We reached an agreement to appear in the 2005 edition of the Red Guide and to not have to unnecessarily wait a year," he said.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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