Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tokyo overcomes Paris in gastronomy

For 2009, the Michelin Guide awarded more 3-star restaurant ratings in Tokyo than in Paris. 信じられない。

Congratulations to Japan, especially considering how Franco-centric the Michelin folks are, but one thing that bothers me is that the organization sort of caved to that whole nihonjinron mythology, which basically theorizes that no one can possible understand Japan than the Japanese:
Not everyone in Japan was pleased that Michelin had landed in Tokyo. Critics attacked its culinary selections. Some chefs said they didn't want to be in the book. Others questioned how a group of foreigners could judge Japanese food.

To mollify naysayers, the company used only Japanese inspectors for the 2010 Tokyo edition, [Jean-Luc] Naret said.

For more background about Michelin, the New Yorker this month has a great account of the inspectors and rating process.

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