Cast your minds back, back into the mists of time when sauces had extravagant rococo names such as bordelaise, soubise or genevoise, vegetables were turned more times than a model on a catwalk and vegetarianism was a dirty word. That, dear reader, was the grand age of la Cuisine Franà§aise. Since then, French cuisine has undergone a lot of soul-searching – perhaps not by the French themselves, but certainly by others in the industry.
The tragedy of Bernard Loiseau’s suicide in 2003 (after learning he was to lose a Michelin star; in the end he kept it, albeit too late for poor M. Loiseau) caused many to question the efforts and money taken to reach the starry heights of Michelin recognition – are customers really driven to a restaurant because of the number of stars they have attained? Once upon a time, the answer was almost certainly yes, but M. Loiseau’s tragic suicide resulted in many chefs both in France and here, including Nico Ladenis and Marco Pierre White, handing them back to Michelin, stating the stars no longer recognised kitchen skill, but rather then number of hand towels in the toilets and so on.