Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Michelin Guide Ratings

Well. It is out. I have a lot to say about this "rating", as in who the hell is Michelin? And what have they done for understanding ingredients and taste. If you could resurrect the late, great Fernande Pointe of La Pyramid and took away the sterling silver service, the handblown glasses and the table linen woven by virgins in some remote island you would still have exquisite cooking, but no banana - at least not 3, 2 or even 1.

When cooking became a sport (competition - and remember, if there is a winner there is a loser), and show biz (good example: the Food Network which proves you CAN cook with clowns), there went the LAST hand craft in common use in the U.S. If you think cooking is not a valid craft, think about this: When did you have your last shirt sewed for YOU? When did you have your shoes cobbled for YOU? When did you last have your dining room chairs carved for YOU? Even if you go into a breakfast joint, a lot of things are made from scratch (unless you are eating on the cheap out of necessity or miserliness and go to places that use off-prem food service dishes such as frozen waffles, etc.) such as pancakes with batter made on-prem, eggs cooked to order using real butter or real olive oil, and coffee brewed with a good machine and real coffee as opposed to colored hot water.

Oh, yes. I have a lot to say - so stay tuned. I am off to teach yet another class at Tante Marie's in San Francisco, my 27th year of doing so. You will have to wait just a bit until I recover and catch my breath and then Michelin here we go.

Oh. Remember that Michelin Guide was started for people who were using the automobile in its infancy and needed to know where to stop to get vittles. This should give you a clue.


Anonymous Tom in Santa Clara said...

Great points Carlo, and I find your use of YOU important. We're starting to see a weak backlash against the impersonaliztion of our society, I think, in the new MY TV network, car dealerships called MY (fill in the blank), and here in the Bay Area we're even seeing TV Channel 20 being 'rebranded' as 'Your TV 20'.

Its all phony marketing stuff though, cooking, and good cooking at that, I agree is one of the last personal crafts still around. I visited Vivande this last Sunday (8 October) for the first time in 2-3 years (just due to laziness and cheapness as I live in the South Bay) and was impressed by two things...Vivande looks better than before without losing the charm of the older place (still love the pigs on the brick wall and I noticed the framed plate from Ristorante!), and the food and the experience was still magnifico! Fettucine Ala Carlo and Pasta Romana were what my Mother and I ordered, things flowed very smoothly, Michael our waiter was superb and engaging and funny in a quiet way, and he knew how to talk with us in a personable way! He knew how to overcome the fact that Saturday appeared to be a good night for you and that the Peroni beer hadn't been restocked....I'll have you know that Heinecken worked just as well with Pasta! The whole Vivande experience was wonderful....and I'll be back sooner rather than later!

Who cares about stars, its about cooking and connecting to customers and giving them something good and has as the British say 'Value for Money'!

Keep up the good work Carlo!

5:39 PM  
Blogger fortune said...


i love your blog; i've been a big fan of yours for many years.

i still consult and discuss your book on southern italian food with people who haven't heard about it.

i've been eyeing that pic of your italian starfish bread for quite a while now. i bake a lot of bread at home and make pizza every sunday.

is there a place we can get that beautiful looking starfish bread's recipe? with instructions on shaping it? or could we base it on the bread in your southern book?

congrats on the blog; you're an underappreciated artist!



7:27 PM  

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