ENDANGERED SPECIES
June 13, 2016
AJ Linn (45 articles)
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ENDANGERED SPECIES

Often you are so close to something that you don’t notice it, and it needs an outsider to point it out. On this occasion it was a globetrotting friend, keen observer, and lover of good food. During his recent visit to the Coast, and after we had lunched at a one-star Michelin restaurant near Marbella, he remarked, ‘There is a unique species here that exists nowhere else.’ Rather surprised, and thinking he was talking about the local fauna, I asked what he meant.  ‘Michelin chefs: what are they?’ I tried to answer him but soon found myself flailing around hopelessly.

Later, each time I Googled Michelin chefs, the results stubbornly showed entries for Michelin restaurants. Apart from a few mentions of Michelin chefs in the Costa del Sol media, there did not appear to be such a thing as a Michelin chef anywhere in the entire world.

The simple conclusion was that the little red guide had changed its policy without making any announcement, so the only option was to ask them. A polite lady at Michelin’s Paris headquarters explained to me, as if I were a small child, that there is no such thing as a Michelin chef. Only restaurants are awarded stars, whch are given for a variety of factors that the much-feared inspectors report on after their anonymous visits. Notable are the decoration, tableware, cutlery, glasses, location, toilets, parking, wine list, service, waiter’s outfits, cleanliness, etc: items that are seldom the responsibility of a chef in a top restaurant, she explained, so obviously the person in charge of the kitchen has a limited influence on a restaurant’s qualification for an award.

What about the so-called Michelin chefs that apparently abound in this area? The kind lady told me the management of the Guide is aware of, and loathes, this deplorable habit, a consequence, she said, of sharp practice by the media for its own dubious purposes.

So the next time someone points out a Michelin chef to you, simply reply, ‘Yes, and pigs can fly.’ There is no such species.

 

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AJ Linn

AJ Linn

AJ Linn se estableció en España hace más de 40 años tras una abreviada carrera en Inglaterra vinculada entre otras cosas con la importación de vinos. Ha vivido en El Puerto de Santa María y Cádiz, ahora Marbella, y durante las ultimas décadas se ha dedicado a varios negocios, hasta que actualmente se limita a escribir sobre vino, gastronomía, flamenco y el estilo de vida español. Aparte de su columna semanal en el Diario Sur, sus artículos se publican con regularidad en medios de habla inglesa, tanto en España como en el extranjero.

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