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Readers of the Weekend FT were treated to a long article by us about the celebrity chef phenomenon, its inter-relationship with the Michelin phenomenon, and some guidance on how to get the best out of dining chez the celebs.

Read article, but first see note below*

So far as we’re aware, no one had actually ever before done a correlation check – an issue addressed only tangentially in the article – between Michelin’s conclusions and those from our own survey. Even us!

We hadn’t realised, for example, just how little dispute there is between Michelin and Harden’s at the very top end of the market. We all agree about which are the top half-dozen restaurants in town for example, with the sole exception fact that Michelin prefers to put a Gallic restaurant at position number six in the pecking order, and we prefer an Indian one. Now, what is it that people always say about Michelin and its understanding of ethnic cuisines…?

The other point that our research tended to highlight is just how much in thrall to 'big names’ Michelin seems to be. How else to explain the fact that almost all the Michelin star awarded to expensive restaurants Harden’s reporters don’t rate particularly highly go to establishments associated with high-recognition chefs such as Gordon Ramsay (at Claridge’s), Pierre Gagnaire (of Sketch, Lecture Room) and Gary Rhodes (W1)?

That Michelin becomes blinded by the mega-starry chefs of its own creation was one of the main claims in Pascal Remy’s Red Guide exposé L’inspecteur se met à table. It seems to be borne out surprisingly clearly by the evidence of our table (for which, follow link above).

* There is one correction we would like to note to the table which appears in the FT article. An error in our methodology led to 1 Lombard Street appearing a few places lower down the list than it should have done. Paradoxically, this error tends to reinforce the conclusion expressed in our article, because – on a true analysis – it appears that all the bottom four Michelin-starred restaurants in the table are associated with multiply-Michelin-starred chefs.

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