Culinary consciousness raisers, cooking texts often serve as vehicles of national identification. From Pampille (Marthe Allard Daudet) and her cookbook, Les Bons Plats de France , in 1913 to the international culinary competitions of today such as the Bocuse d'or, culinary distinction promotes national interests. In contrast to the strident nationalism of the early twentieth century, culinary nationalism today operates in an increasingly globalized world. National culinary distinction defines the nation and sells its products in a highly competitive international arena. A recent culinary text, the South Korean film Le Grand Chef [ Sik Gaek ] (2007), illustrates the phenomenon, subsuming national culinary promotion in a mega culinary competition, all in the service of Korean culinary achievement.
In November 2005, the venerable Michelin Guide crossed the Atlantic with its assessment of New York restaurants and hotels. Three models of food supply the context for the American reaction. The idiosyncratic judgments of the Judge, are those of critics from A.B.L. Grimod de la Reynièère in the early 19th century to reviewers and bloggers today. The next, dating from the advent of the Michelin in the 1920s, is the Tribunal, whose evaluations are the anonymous verdicts of trained inspectors. Zagat's, first published in 1979, is the Plebiscite, which tallies votes of any diner who fills out a ballot. The criticism leveled by New York media at the Michelin were inspired in part by anti-French sentiment but especially by resistance to what was perceived as an elitist, hence unwarranted cultural authority. Serving different purposes and fulfilling distinct needs, each type of guide has a place in today's volatile and fast-changing food world.