On Monday, Richard Harden, co-publisher of Harden’s, spoke at the major trade fair, Hotelympia,
For an account see the Bighospitality report. (It’s perhaps worth noting that the self-aggrandising title of the talk – “Richard Harden tells it like it is” – was nothing to do with us.)
The other point it may be worth recording is that the suggestion that we said Michelin is “only involved in the restaurant industry for the publicity” was a slightly more considered statement than the report may make it sound.
It was not meant so much as a criticism, but as a reminder that the guides – which were, of course, originally given away – have always existed as a promotional device for tyres, and that that continues to be the only economic justification for their existence, currently costing Michelin a cool €15m annually (FT).
If Michelin is 'in it' only for the publicity – rather than because it has any hope of the guides paying their own way – it is therefore hardly unreasonable to suppose that the quest for publicity may have some effect on the product.
We should also record that the suggestion that “it’s a wonderful circular dance: Michelin build the chef up, the chefs build Michelin up”, far from being our own idea, was taken directly from a piece by “the most decorated food writer in history”!