Why We Don’t Deserve Michelin

When I last wrote about the service issues in F&B, people shared that they relate and resonate with my thoughts and have experienced the same in multiple situations. Unfortunately, the issue will take long and the resolution to it lies both in attitude and aptitude.  

I have been reading stories on why/how some of our Indian restaurants deserve to be in the list of Michelin star guide. This also includes how Michelin ‘Guide’ are missing out on the great Indian restaurants. I was amused to read these stories. I believe, it is important to understand and review ‘ourselves’ and relook at the Michelin rated restaurants – It will be worthwhile to then do an honest rating by ourselves. Post this – analyzing on where we stand – One would know if they actually deserve to be part of the prestigious list!

It’s still not known and not clear that what it takes to be on that famous list. Do you know? I don’t know yet. You may ask, how do we know where we stand?

We had been doing a lot of research, spoken to people in our circle, reached out to people who have experienced hospitality at Michelin restaurants – realization post each conversation was – We are far behind. Clearly, the restaurants or their fan followers in India thus claimed that their restaurant should have been rated under “Michelin star” – had no idea on what it takes to be proclaimed as one!

I am sure you must have read write-ups on various online sites that why Michelin is not awarding in India., Well we talk a lot about Gagaan when it comes to Michelin star rating, after all, it’s the only restaurant in the world in the list serving Indian cuisine.

Do you also know that Gaggan which is the no 1 restaurant in Asia 3rd time in a row is also not awarded by Michelin! Why? –  because Bangkok doesn’t have a Michelin guide yet.

Now the million dollar question was while I was working on this story that what is that we are lacking? I have not been to Gagaan, in fact, I haven’t been to any Michelin star, the one I was in SFO was almost a decade back and I hardly remember anything about that restaurant.

In my research, I spoke to people who have not only been to Gagaan but also have been to a lot of Michelin star restaurant. In fact, some of them have been to three Michelin star as well.

A common thing that everyone agreed was that our service is “not up to the mark”; “pathetic”; “needs tremendous improvement”; – these remarks should help us understand what is the biggest drawback. Assuming that we have Michelin Inspector in India and reviewing the restaurant – they do not inform anyone; people don’t even know who they are. – We have only assumed till date that they follow certain patterns.

I often come across a statement – “It was a bad day at restaurant”; “Chef was not available that day”; “Supply was not the usual” and many other such statements. Well, according to me, these are excuses and if you are eyeing to give world class experience to your guests, you need to up your game/service.

Then comes another important aspect – we do not yet have wine culture in our country – neither do we have wine pairing foods. Most of the restaurants don’t even have their chef’s tasting menu. This is another drawback as people think serving miniature version from their A-La-Carte in chef’s tasting menu is good enough. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen worldwide.

We also do not always like to experiment and we hardly innovate. In the name of innovation, we either get inspired or copy others. To successfully implement any new offering, it is extremely important to take hard decisions on what current undertakings would you stop and what support is required to get anything new implemented.

We also haven’t had enough of chef-driven place. The food here is not planned or curated by chefs (most of the time ), but they have been done, keeping the customer in the mind. Food is tweaked for customer satisfactions. Some restaurateurs understand the concept of keeping the current offerings and keeping the “original taste” intact. Some restaurants go through the exercise of recommendations on what current offerings they might stop; in order to adjust to the taste of customers.

We need more and more chefs who are passionate about their food and want to just cook some good food and not be focussed on their tv appearances.

Let me quote you from Vouge Magazine where Gagaan said “Don’t copy, innovate. Be inspired. Put it on paper. Experiment long enough before a dish becomes perfect. And learn how to make an omelet. Cooking starts with a perfect omelet, where the center of the egg is runny but not uncooked, and the upside is soft.”

 

#UrbanInitiative  – Beyond Food

This story is part of our new initiative called #UrbanInitiative  – Beyond Food where we will be looking into much deeper issues and will be trying to get you story which is much more important and desirable for the improvement of the entire F&B industry. Coming from Human Resource background I will be looking and watching very closely and will also be working with industry for its betterment.

 

 

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