4

Michelin bestows more stars on Japan, which pulls even with France for restaurants with top honors

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Planning an international culinary vacation? Thinking France? Maybe you should re-route to Japan. This year's Michelin guides are now out for perusal -- and because four restaurants in Japanese cities were upgraded to three-star status, the country now hosts the same number of highest-honored eateries as the gastronomically proud French: Both countries come in at 26.

What's more, the restaurants in Japan that were promoted to the highest star count weren't French joints -- they were Japanese spots. And many of them aren't serving food on beautiful porcelain or pouring wine in crystal. Some of them are using Tupperware as serving dishes.

So is that an evolution of the ranking system, long based on a checklist of standards related to aesthetics, service and food? After all, Michelin has recently come under fire for being outdated and biased toward the standards of France, the country in which it's based.

In Japan, though, the star system is under fire for an entirely different reason. Westerners don't like it because they see it as a marketing ploy for Michelin. Chefs in the United States and Europe gripe that Michelin only bestowed stars so generously for advertising purposes -- suggesting that Michelin is courting the Japanese public to sell goods.

But Japanese chefs are no happier with the accolades. In fact, a number of chefs are shying away from the ranking because they don't want the associated international publicity -- they want to continue to run restaurants on their own standards, luring in regular local customers instead of a room full of culinary tourists.

Jean-Luc Naret, the director of Michelin guides, insists that the organization was objective in its star decision.

Follow @CafeWestword on Twitter

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.