True stars in the kitchen

Michelin’s system of giving restaurants stars has gone far beyond its initial purpose of indicating somewhere reliable to eat

The restaurant business in France has become a pressurised contest to produce extraordinary dishes using idiosyncratic combinations of novelty ingredients. Top chefs can only try to push ‘best-chef-ness’ beyond its outer limits.

Most diners, however, want something else. They know – although it is heresy to suggest it – that you cannot beat a traditional dish home-cooked by someone who knows what he/she is doing using local ingredients and served in agreeable but unpretentious surroundings.

Anyone who stumbles across such a restaurant does not care whether it has stars or not.