With pronouncements vouching for Michelin’s “unrivaled integrity, independence, and expertise”, the Director of Visit California was apparently unaware of, wasn’t in a position to know about, or chose to ignore, events in Michelin’s recent history that created the transformation of the Michelin Guides from an unbiased source of rectitude, inscrutability, deliberateness, and discretion to one that has refashioned itself in the digital age by engaging in commercial ventures and activities as the sales of its guidebooks have fallen.
The term “Nouvelle Cuisine” is not as new as one might think. Marin codified 18th-century French cuisine, while Menon (pseudonym) vulgarized it, but in return helped to create a broader base. Generations of cooks learned from no less than 200 years ago by studying the “Cuisinière Bourgeoise”, first published in 1746. Both chefs, Marin and Menon, created a founding legend of cooking styles with the catchy formula “Nouvelle Cuisine”, which subsequent generations of chefs would use to promote and market their own style. Throughout the centuries, cookbook authors have judged the “old cooking” of their direct predecessors as “gothic,” “complicated,” and “heavy.”
We had the pleasure of dining at Quince during “white truffle week”. After an excellent cocktail suitable before dinner (relatively low in alcohol) in the lovely bar (it is really worth vising on its own), we started our meal at this Cal-Italian restaurant with inflections from Piemonte.
As a dining destination, the Bay Area had never really interested me. The Michelin stars kept tumbling in, but I expected it to be populist “nouveau stars” (or marketing stars) like so many restaurants today profit from. Not until I read Vedat Milor’s reviews at Gastromondiale, did I ever take this locale seriously.