Michelin, Get Out of the Kitchen!

Just over a century ago, two French tire manufacturers created the Michelin guide. According to the author, it has blighted the lives of chefs from Brooklyn to Bombay, while spawning legions of checklist gourmands.

  1. A little more than a hundred years ago, a pair of brothers invented the food guide. It was an inadvertent invention. What they thought they’d done was compile a directory of places in France where you could grab a baguette and a bed for the night while some rural blacksmith or farrier tried to mend your broken-down Boitel, Motobloc, Otto, or Lacoste & Battmann. The brothers, Édouard and André Michelin, made pneumatic tires and were staring down the road at the biggest blue-sky start-up industry of the new century.

    The Michelin guide turned out to be prescient and inspired. This motoring thing wasn’t going to be about what you went in but where you went to. The guide quickly became not an emergency manual but a destination invitation. They added a star system—one, two, or three stars—and a hieroglyphic lexicon to show you where you could eat on a terrace, take your dog, or make a phone call.

    The Michelin guide made kitchens as competitive as football teams, becoming the most successfu...

The complete text of “Michelin, Get Out of the Kitchen! ” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on www.vanityfair.com.

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