Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Michelin and me

September 13

Just as I'll go to a party simply to go to a party, sometimes I'll interview people just because they're around.
So I didn't tell the CEO of Left Bank restaurants that I'd already written my story on chains using local produce (look for it in NRN's September 25 issue) until after I'd interviewed him. I saved the notes, and maybe I'll be able to write something about the company later.
And I didn't have any particular agenda for my interview with Michelin guide director Jean-Luc Naret today. I mean, if he were going to tell me what restaurants in San Francisco and New York were getting what stars before everyone else, I'd certainly report on that, but Monsieur Naret is not a stupid man.
I did learn that the San Francisco guide covers an area stretching from San Jose to wine country and into the East Bay and features about 350 restaurants, compared to New York's 500. I learned that the New York edition will have a special section of inspectors' favorites — good-value restaurants with average per-person checks under $40.
And I learned that chefs often contact Michelin before they talk to the press about plans to refurbish their restaurants.
Heston Blumenthal, probably the world's #2 practitioner (going by reputation alone) of molecular gastronomy (after Ferran Adrià), wanted to show M. Naret his business plan for The Fat Duck, his 3-star restaurant in Bray, England.

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