surinenglish

Has the Michelin Guide taken the wrong route?

The Michelin Guide has realised it needs to reinvent itself. The stale formula of annual award-giving and the media circus that accompanies the ceremony must change to survive. Whichever way you look at it, the Guide remains an institution with principles. It is the only restaurant-rating publication that has the loyalty and support of working chefs, but is it wearing thin? In the future restaurants will be rated on their contribution to the environment and are being asked (usually by telephone) if their establishment is ecologically sustainable.

Michelin has awarded the Green Clover emblem to 50 restaurants in France and Nordic countries. But how does the Guide check on these practices? Easy. It phones and asks if they are sustainable and climate-conscious, and how they do it. As the chef of a long-time Michelin-star holder commented recently, "If a restaurant works with meat it emits CO2. So it's not the easiest thing in the world to be a 3* Michelin restaurant and at the same time respective of the all the finer points of environmental matters." How was the Michelin Guide aware of any ecological practices? How did it qualify for this new sustainability emblem? He said that he remembered a phone conversation where someone called the restaurant and asked "So are you sustainable, yes? Tell me how? Ok, thank you."

Copenhagen chef, Christian Puglisi, of Relae, thinks Michelin has lost its way. "Just a phone call gives you the right to display a clover next to your Michelin star." Puglisi said he does not believe his restaurant is entirely sustainable. "Apart from serving meat, we produce waste, we heat the restaurant, we use cling film..." Indeed, it is tough making a restaurant sustainable and ecologically responsible, but is it really the responsibility of an eating-out guide to regulate such matters?