Burgundy Stars: A Year in the Life of a Great French Restaurant

William Echikson, Author
William Echikson, Author Little Brown and Company $24.95 (311p) ISBN 978-0-316-19993-3
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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The Michelin Guide's annual ratings of the restaurants of France occupy a place as august in gourmet annals as the pronouncements of the Academie Fran aise on the French language are for the literati. The guide's secret surveillance and standards of perfection denied its highest ratings to most of the 10,772 restaurants and hotels it listed in 1992, with only 19 awarded its coveted three stars. One of these was Bernard Loiseau's La Cote d'Or, in the Burgundian town of Saulieu. How this perfection-mad chef set out to win his stars is described by Fortune correspondent Echikson, who spent a year in Loiseau's kitchen and on buying trips with his staff. The book is not so much about food as about ``a country trying to maintain and improve upon its traditions'' in a time of global homogenization that, some fear, may mean the end of the great French cuisine. Echikson details the tireless searches through the Burgundian countryside for perfect native cheeses, breads, wines, snails, jams and vegetables, and such critical decisions as whether to use Greek frogs' legs or Spanish tomatoes. Here is an exuberant portrait of a still vibrant art in which perfection, not money, is the motivating force for an array of obsessed and inspired individuals. Bon appetit! (June)
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