Pierre Koffmann: "Michelin is rubbish at judging one-star restaurants"

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pierre Koffmann: "Michelin is rubbish at judging one-star restaurants"

Related tags: Chefs, Michelin, Restaurant, Pierre Koffmann

Pierre Koffmann has said that the modern Michelin guide is “rubbish” when it comes to its judgement of one-star restaurants.

The chef made the comments as part of a talk during the London Restaurant Festival at the Hyatt Regency London -The Churchill hotel, hosted by Bloomberg’s​ Richard Vines.

Koffmann, whose London restaurant La Tante Claire won three Michelin stars in the early 1980s, said: “I think Michelin is rubbish. When you see Michelin give one star to The Ritz and one star to a restaurant in a corner of London that is absolutely ordinary how can you compare the two?

“Michelin tries to be for young people. It is one of the few guides you cannot really trust, except maybe for a three-star type of restaurant, but for one-star it is terrible.

“The best guide in the world is yourself. You go somewhere and like it you go back. Don’t trust any other guide.”

Future plans

The chef, who launched a restaurant in collaboration with Marco Pierre White ​and Black & White Hospitality at Bath’s Abbey Hotel this week, added that he would be keen to open another restaurant in London in future. He was previously rumoured to be linked to the Bloomberg Arcade scheme in the City.

He said: “I would love to do something [in London]. I don’t have so many years in front of me, I’ve got more in the back, and you’ve got to do what you enjoy.

“I wouldn’t cook for Michelin stars, I’m past that, but you need to cook what you enjoy to eat. I like sweetbreads and game, that kind of food. There are not so many young chefs cooking game, you’ve got to go to The Ritz to enjoy that.”

Koffmann, who over his career earned the nickname ‘the bear’ for his tough stance in the kitchen, said he would soften his approach if he oversaw another opening.

“You cannot be a bear anymore,” he said. “It’s so difficult to get the staff now. When I was young you had a pile of applications, now the staff are choosing you.”

The wide-ranging talk also saw Koffmann address modern culinary techniques, including sous vide cooking.

He said: “In London I think it’s crazy. [Sous vide] is stupid cooking. The young chefs don’t learn how to cook, they cannot cook a steak unless it’s in a bag. I think it’s a bit sad. At [Koffmann's at The Berkeley] only one dish was sous vide, the foie gras. All the meat and fish was on the bone because it was to teach [the chefs] how to prepare it properly.”

Koffmann’s project with White could also be set for expansion after its first year exclusivity deal ends with Bath’s Abbey Hotel.

Nick Taplin, chief executive of Black & White Hospitality told BigHospitality’s​ sister site MCA​it could work in locations such as Oxford, Cambridge, York and Edinburgh.

Related topics: People

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