Posted on Flickr by Miss Peach

The gospel for some, a touch has-been for others, the Michelin Guide is no longer the be-all and end-all of culinary critique. Chefs, gourmets, critics and bloggers are ready to fight it out with stars and rolling pins.

It is the world's most widely respected culinary guide, but also the most dreaded. As it celebrates the release of its centennial edition in France today, the Michelin Guide can proudly boast an unrivalled status at home and in 23 foreign countries. Yet the guide's supremacy is being undermined by growing ranks of young gourmets, more inclined to the slow food movement and experimental cuisines, or who can simply ill-afford one of Michelin's three-star venues.

"The Michelin Guide is sometimes slow to keep up with change and new trends"

Franco Ziliani is widely respected wine blogger in Italy. 

The Michelin remains the most authoritative guide, even though I sometimes wonder by what right some restaurants earn their stars. The guide is sometimes slow to keep up with change and new trends. As a result, restaurants that were once excellent hold on to their stars for too long, whereas some chefs that have made huge strides forward in recent years are belatedly rewarded."

"There are several friends of ours among the big winners, so it's a bit like our Oscar night"

Bruno Ménard is the lead chef at Tokyo's Osier restaurant, which can boast all three Michelin stars.

We've been following all the buzz about the prospected winners for several weeks now. There are several friends of ours among the big winners, so it's a bit like our Oscar night. In any case, they are all leading professionals.

Whether the guide's choices are acclaimed or decried, it always arouses controversy - and I find this fascinating. We can't all agree on everything. If some bloggers wish to become critics as well, so much the better. But what I see is that the Michelin is still the most widely read.

I don't think the guide is elitist. Let us not forget that all these "philosophical" approaches to gastronomy are secondary. When we spend 16 hours a day in our kitchens it's above all for our own pleasure."

 

Advert for the 2009 Michelin Guide in the Tokyo subway. Posted on Flickr by Pabo76.

"The true gourmets, those who are curious, learn nothing from the Michelin."

Marine Bidaud is in charge of the culinary guide website Fooding.com.

The Michelin Guide no longer has an editorial line. It awards stars to chefs who excel in their field, but all it does is confirm those who were already famous. And when it tries to reward some "newcomers" it merely follows in other people's footsteps. It's finally decided to give its first star to the Fogon (a Spanish restaurant in Paris), a place we rewarded five years ago!

The true gourmets, those who are curious, learn nothing from the Michelin. This is a guide for foreign tourists. Its requirements are too rigid: white tablecloths, irreproachable comfort, two waiters per customer, etc. Culinary codes have changed, and the Michelin is no longer in tune. They should be highlighting contemporary trends and innovations."