CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Editor’s Comment: November 2017

PUBLISHED: 09:44 24 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:44 24 October 2017

Michelin Man: Nunc est bibendum!

Michelin Man: Nunc est bibendum!


This stereotypical Michelin-starred experience is a long evening of smarmy service, over-elaborate cooking, daft prices and ‘personality’ chefs

This month we consider one of the great questions of our time – what is the point of Michelin stars? I suppose that once upon a time, such recognition was a reliable indicator of quality, but these days there are so many guide books and restaurant awards – not to mention the dreaded TripAdvisor – that you can find out everything from the origin of the cutlery to the chef’s inside leg measurement before even going near the establishment in question.

I ask because there has been some small gnashing of teeth in the Cotswolds as a handful of our better establishments have had their Michelin approval removed this time around. But does it really matter? We already know that these are great places to eat so why are we so in thrall to the opinions of a French tyre manufacturer?

(We must exclude from any of the following comments our very own Le Champignon Sauvage, where chef/owner David Everitt-Matthias has been getting the balance of fine food and formality just right for decades.)

Eating a meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant is not always the pleasant experience you might think. Such is the weight of expectation that many diners are reduced to strange behaviour. On one side of you will be a couple of earnest foodies, quizzing the poor waiter over which side of the valley the walnuts on the salad were grown. They will then descend into a silence of intense concentration, the only sound being the clink of cutlery and the rustle of card-stiff table linen as they surrender their taste buds to the holy ministrations of the chefs.

On the other side will be that modern-day curse, the food bloggers, clicking and flashing as they photograph every aspect of the dish on their phones before bunging it up on Instagram – by which time the food is cold and the maître d’ is clenching his frustrated fists and contemplating bloggercide.

And in between flits the pompadured sommelier who sneered at you for ordering the second cheapest bottle on the eye-watering wine list and gets his revenge by sticking your plonk in an ice bucket at the other end of the room. Listen pal, I’ll decide when to top my glass up, not you. Now get that bottle on the table, pronto.

This stereotypical Michelin-starred experience is a long evening of smarmy service, over-elaborate cooking, daft prices and ‘personality’ chefs. And do we really need to have our peas peeled or our lamb shredded, rissoled, faggotted, puréed and smeared? To be fair (and I don’t know why I bother), the French tyre company has tried to move away from this characterisation by becoming more diverse. Unfortunately the ridiculous result can be seen in last month’s award of three stars – as good as it gets – to a London restaurant called Araki which has only nine seats. I’ll repeat that: it has only nine seats, which amounts to a star for every three customers. You will never be able to eat there because it will now be fully booked until the day the poor chef expires and so the whole exercise is completely pointless. I suspect they’re just taking le pee now.


Time for the annual rant about firework abuse. This year November 5th falls on a Sunday. We can therefore expect a weekend’s worth of whizz-bangs over three nights. For those of us with dogs of a nervous disposition, this is not only sufficient but also too much.

However, as a magazine which defends the rights of people to do what they want as long as they don’t harm others, it’s something we have to put up with. But let me tell you, the amusement value in watching a shivering whippet dressed in an Eric Cantona T-shirt wears pretty thin by the Third Night.

For more from Mike, follow him on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Cotswolds are abundant with picture perfect locations ideal for a ramble. Gather loved ones, wrap up warm and blow away the cobwebs with one of these winter walks in the region

Read more
Monday, December 10, 2018

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Monday, December 10, 2018

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search