By Martin Isark
There are just 120 Michelin Guide inspectors worldwide and on average they eat out 250 meals a year, that’s around 30,000 restaurants that are going to be inspected throughout the world each year. And there are millions of chefs and restaurateurs around the world praying for an inspection, especially when you consider there are over 80,000 restaurants in the UK alone. Like millions of authors that want their books to get on the best sellers, it is tough ask. Especially, as the ones that are already in the guide are inspected each year as matter of course. Phew!
Book agents will tell you they can only read so many books, and there always is that fear that they are going to miss a masterpiece, or if you take Bordeaux, France, with its 7000 chateaux each making around three wines each, and likewise there are always going to be a few gems that the tasters and journalists miss, and therefore they don’t get the exposure and the gongs they deserve. You could write another Guide that has excellent restaurants dishing up great food that don’t get a mention. But that aside, the starred ones that are chosen are generally top-notch.
Sex is always better in superb surroundings! Of course Michelin inspectors’ and journalist’s main remit is to go and review the food, and that’s why customers go to dine there. End of. However, beautifully crafted food can be spoilt by poorly trained front of house staff, annoying music, cramped or wobbly tables & chairs, smelly toilets, badly written menus and a wine list that displays little knowledge of the wines that are in it. Get these wrong and the restaurant’s great food has as much chance getting favourable reviews by leading food journalist or in the Michelin Guide as snowball in hell!
The ultimate experience for diners, reviewers and inspectors is from the moment they rock-up they are transcended to foodie heaven, and whatever the price the experience has been worth it. You want to experience this at its very best try the Waterside Inn at Bray, Berkshire. It has had three Michelin stars for over 30 years, and it is the only one outside France, and now that’s impressive!
Dritan & Ranka the owners of The Chequers Inn, Weston Turville, Buckinghamshire, is spitting distance from the Chequers, The Prime Ministers country residence. I was recommended to go to this amazing restaurant by several of Heston’s team at Bray. One said, it is so good Heston could be in the Kitchen. When I rocked up I found that their Mantra was similar to The Waterside Inn, 99% good is not good enough, the food and the service has to be 100% perfect. It is certainly a foodie heaven for the people of Bucks. Maybe it’s now time that restaurant reviewers and inspectors gave it the once over.