Michelin stars have been handed out during the last few weeks and it has gotten me thinking about the possibility of a restaurant in the Capital Region ever being awarded a Michelin star.
The first thing necessary is a chef with the talent and determination to do the work required to meet the standards of Michelin reviewers. I don’t think we have that. We have some very good chefs, but not of the caliber and/or commitment needed for that level of achievement.
Said chef also needs a culinary team with the same vision of flawless execution. Well, the labor pool in our area is quite shallow. That’s not to say we don’t have some very good and dedicated cooks, but it seems to me that many of our young talented cooks want to run a kitchen and be culinary stars in our small pond before working under a more experienced chef for the number of years required to be fully capable of reaching a level to be noticed by Michelin.
Many other components are required for a restaurant to be considered for at least one star like dining room service, wine service, ambiance, crisp linens, great china, brilliant stemware…………………. Ultimately, there’s a tremendous effort needed by a very talented team across the board.
The biggest obstacle to a Michelin star in the Capital District is the dining public. We simply do not have enough people who will support the effort needed to achieve that level of excellence. We have some wonderful restaurants that do good work, but a business with the goal of a Michelin star, doing the things necessary for that level of dining would not survive. I recently read a comment on a popular food blog about the opening of a new pub that was scoffing at the $13 price tag for a reuben made with locally produced corned beef, locally made cheese, barrel aged sauerkraut, and top quality bread. This attitude I have seen time and time again on various blogs and in my 18 years in this business. Some suggest that our population is too small, we simply do not have the volume of people to support a Michelin starred caliber restaurant. Well, out of 1 million people we cannot support 1 star? The San Francisco Bay area has 7 million people who support 28 Michelin stars.
So perhaps I’m wrong, maybe we do have the talent and desire, but no audience.