Friday, January 28, 2005
Michelin Guides Gets Psychic
Big Whoopsie by Michelin
Michelin guide pulled over gaffe
Jan 27, 2005
Michelin admitted making an "error" in the attribution of a "Bib Gourmand." Michelin has removed one of its renowned gourmet guides from sale after it emerged it carried a top review for a restaurant that had not yet opened. The Ostend Queen in Belgium had been awarded a "Bib Gourmand" even though it opened several weeks after publication of the Benelux Red Guide 2005.
The owner of the restaurant told a Belgian newspaper he got into the guide via his "good relations" with Michelin. Michelin, whose image has been dented of late, has admitted the blunder. The French company said it would publish a new version of the guide, which covers restaurants and hotels in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, within "around two months".
The Benelux guide "is withdrawn from sale because it contains an error concerning the attribution of a Bib Gourmand" it said in a statement. The decision followed a report in the Belgian newspaper Le Soir that reported that the Ostend Queen had received a "Bib Gourmand", an accolade designating a place as having excellent food at a moderate price, even though it opened on 8 January, several weeks after publication.
Michelin admitted that its procedures, which entail anonymous inspectors dropping into restaurants to grade them for the guide, "had not been respected". The Benelux guide usually sells about 50,000 copies, and a good review can greatly boost a restaurant's reputation and income. But Michelin's own reputation has suffered recently.
A Michelin inspector in France was sacked after writing a book saying that some chefs were treated as above criticism and that there were not enough inspectors. Ostend Queen restaurant owner Fernand David said he got into the guide because of the "good relations" he had with Michelin, and because he was sponsored by an established three-star chef. "We reached an agreement to appear in the 2005 edition of the Red Guide and to not have to wait a year unnecessarily," he told Le Soir.
BBC News on Michelin Guides