Receiving a Michelin star was once the ultimate culinary reward for the hard work and dedication that chefs have demonstrated in making their restaurants a success. However, for some of them, the stars seem more of a burden than a blessing. In recent years, several chefs have given up their Michelin status, closed the doors on their restaurants, and begun a new professional life away from haute cuisine. Many have opened up about the reasons leading them to neglect Michelin, the most prominent of them being the pressure involved in maintaining the stars, rather than obtaining them. Yet there are less obvious, but not less important, reasons to explain this behavior. In this article, we argue that chefs’ increasing reluctance to Michelin stardom is reflective of the shifts in today’s culinary profession and industry, triggered both by new attitudes in food consumption and media that increasingly influences ideas about what good food should be, mean, and look like. Drawing on the most prominent scholarly literature, writings by food journalists, and analysis of audiovisual materials, we show how the fine-dining industry is redefining itself outside the traditional systems of valuation and judgment.
Deflated Michelin: An Exploration of the Changes in Values in the Culinary Profession and Industry
Raúl Matta is a research fellow at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. He conducts research at the intersection of the anthropology of food, heritage, and cultural studies, with an emphasis on the cultural, social, and political uses of food and cooking by different actors and stakeholders.
Padma Panchapakesan is an independent researcher having published extensively on Services Marketing and Hospitality Management. Earlier, she served as senior lecturer at Taylor’s University Malaysia and as a research fellow at ISCTE-IUL—Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, Portugal. She has also worked with Fortune 500 in the financial and IT sectors.
Raúl Matta, Padma Panchapakesan; Deflated Michelin: An Exploration of the Changes in Values in the Culinary Profession and Industry. Gastronomica 1 August 2021; 21 (3): 45–55. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2021.21.3.45
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