Há alguns dias foi notícia a atribuição de uma estrela Michelin ao restaurante Belcanto do chef José Avillez. Contra a euforia generalizada que o galardão carrega, lembrei-me de um artigo publicado na Vanity Fair de Novembro. O título é Michelin, Get Out of the Kitchen! e explica, entre outras coisas, como o mais famoso guia do mundo se afastou do objectivo inicial. Diz também o seguinte:
“The Michelin guide also created a new type of customer, the foodie trainspotter, people who aren’t out for a good meal with friends but want to tick a cultural box and have bragging rights on some rare effete spirit. Michelin-starred restaurants began to look and taste the same: the service would be cloying and oleaginous, the menus vast and clotted with verbiage. The room would be hushed, the atmosphere religious. The food would be complicated beyond appetite. And it would all be ridiculously expensive. So, Michelin spawned restaurants that were based on no regional heritage or ingredient but grew out of cooks’ abused vanity, insecurity, and fawning hunger for compliments.
Food writing is already the recidivist culprit of multiple sins against both language and digestion, but the little encomiums of the Michelin guide effortlessly lick the bottom of the descriptive swill bucket. Take this, for instance, but only if you have a paper bag close at hand: “Can something be too perfect? Can its focus be so singular, pleasure so complete, and technique so flawless that creativity suffers? Per Se proves that this fear is unfounded.” That was written in chocolate saliva. Or this: “Devout foodies are quieting their delirium of joy at having scored a reservation—everyone and everything here is living up to the honor of adoring this extraordinary restaurant … Uni with truffle-oil gelée and brioche expresses the regret that we have but three stars to give.” That’s not a review of Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare—it’s a handjob.
This sort of hideously embarrassing faux grandiloquence makes you seriously wonder about the inspectors. The anonymity that was so obsessively preserved as a proof of impartiality is also the sad hiding place of craven hobbyists and amateur wannabes. The Internet has made anonymity a suspect of grubby trolls and smitten stalkers; we no longer trust secrecy to be in our best interests. It’s no accident that the legacy of 100 years of Michelin is not just an emaciated, inhospitable French table but the legion of score-settling adjective junkies populating unreadable Internet blogs. Nerds who photograph their lunch and use food as a bedroom metaphor for feelings and a simile for friends.”