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Well, he’s done it. The indefatigable Andy Hayler’s recent £500 dinner at Per Se in New York makes him, so he believes, the only man in the world to have eaten at every one of the 68 restaurants in the world to have attained three Michelin stars.

Whatever you think of the acuity of Michelin’s ratings, or the sanity of Mr Hayler’s enterprise, his wide-ranging culinary pilgrimage clearly puts him in a strong position to commentate authoritatively on the restaurants generally perceived to be at the top end of the culinary game worldwide.

On the UK, his views are not especially flattering. He finds only the Fat Duck to be truly a three-star restaurant. “I don’t think Gordon Ramsay or the Waterside Inn have been three-star level for some time now”, he told the Evening Standard, “and even at their peak they were only mid-range three-star… The last meals I had there were both pretty ordinary”.

Part of the problem, Mr Hayler believes, is ingredients, or rather the lack of them. “In the markets of France and Italy the quality of ingredients is dazzlingly better [even] than somewhere like Borough Market”.

PS And what was the best food Mr Hayler has ever eaten in the UK? Well, you’re too late. That was “at Harveys [the site which is now Chez Bruce] in the Marco [Pierre White] days”. That, he tells us, was “serious cooking” (“even if Michelin did wait till he moved somewhere posh to give it 3 stars”).


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