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Silly Michelin Scandale

October 25, 2000

The new boss of the Guide Michelin--the Bible of the French culinary orthodoxy--is an Englishman. Seriously.

Derek Brown, a longtime employee of the firm, is replacing Bernard Naegellan, who was for the last 16 years the implacable public face of the most authoritative restaurant guide in the world.

This news is not being received with unalloyed joy in France. "Is this an April Fool?" Gilles Pudlowski, restaurant critic for Le Point magazine, asked the London Times. "It's a scandal! England is the European country where you eat least well. An Englishman will bring nothing good."

Leading French chefs, who will of course continue to be judged by the guide, are taking a wait-and-see attitude. Paul Bocuse says, "We are in Europe. Good cooking has no frontiers."

Fish Egg Crisis

Russia, one of the world's largest caviar producers, will export 60% less caviar this year than in 1999. Extensive poaching and environmental decline in the Caspian and Azov Sea basins, where most of Russia's caviar originates, have severely cut into fish stocks. The Interfax news agency quoted the committee's deputy chairman, Vladimir Izmailov, as saying that the shortage would inevitably result in a drastic increase in world prices for black caviar. Russia is the second-largest exporter of caviar, after Iran, according to Interfax.

Mom's Off the Hook

From the News of the Weird Web site ( "Darryl Ennis, 34, called 911 in Slidell, La., for the sole reason of getting police assistance to force his mother to cook him some pork chops. When he allegedly verbally abused the emergency operator for declining his request, officers went to his home and arrested him."

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