What does this Good Little Restaurants guide contain?
“Everyone talks about the stars awarded by the MICHELIN guide, which was first published over 100 years ago, and rightly so. I’m delighted that it is so, very happy and very proud, but let’s not forget our Bib Gourmands. They are a more recent development and are also awarded to excellent restaurants where the food is very good and at a very reasonable price. Since 1997, our Bib Gourmands have been awarded to restaurants offering a good quality menu for a modest price. These establishments have a menu (starter, main and dessert) for a maximum of 33 euros in the provinces and 37 euros in Paris. Quality and price … those are the only criteria in the awarding of our Bib Gourmands.”
Why was the Bib chosen as the emblem?
“The idea was born in the fifties with the Red R. An R, which became “Repas (French for meal)” in 1992, identified in the MICHELIN guide restaurants offering “carefully made meals at modest prices”. Our current Bib Gourmand is the descendant of that R. In 1997, a designer had the idea of bringing the symbol to life by giving it the features of the emblematic Michelin man: the Bib (…endum) Gourmand was born! He evolved in 2007 to become the figure he is today, that of a Bibendum licking his chops at the prospect of a good meal.”
How are the restaurants selected?
“Throughout France our inspectors, the same ones who awards the stars, also discover good little restaurants that offer excellent value for money. Regional cooking, traditional, trendy, inventive … tireless globe-trotters, our inspectors also invite you to follow them on their gourmet travels across France.”
How many Good Little Restaurants have received an award this year?
“644 addresses in France have received an award for 2018, 105 of which are new. With its exceptional regions, culture and know-how that chefs pass on from generation to generation, France is the country with the most Bib Gourmands. If you want me to choose just a few examples, I would mention Maison Gambert, an old farm set in the midst of the vines of Tain-l’Hermitage, or Chez John in Ambres in the Tarn region, run by the English chef John Curtis, or Le Carré de l’Ange in Ariège, near Saint-Girons. In Paris the Kisin, for its part, offers in the heart of the 8th district Japanese cuisine that specializes in udons.”
Which regions have received the most awards?
“Although the Bib Gourmands are distributed across the whole of France, some regions are more particularly dynamic. That is notably the case of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, with a total of 114 restaurants that have received an award, of which 16 are new this year. Amongst these are La Flèche d’Argent in Royat, near Clermont-Ferrand and La Maniguette in Chambéry, where the chef Christophe Rochard, who trained at Troisgros, is supported in the dining room by his wife Audrey. L’Île-de-France, the second French region in terms of the number of Bib Gourmands, has 75, including 16 new addresses. One of these is Etsi, situated in the 18th district of Paris, where the chef Mikaela Liaroutsos serves Greek-influenced cuisine. Note also, again in the Paris region, Origins 14, the new restaurant run by the young British chef Ollie Clarke, who has taken over the premises of the former Régalade restaurant. Or Saperlipopette! the restaurant of the well-known chef Norbert Tarayre, established in Puteaux. With three restaurants receiving a Bib award this year, Les Canailles Ménilmontant, Le Desnoyez and Le Jourdain, the 20th is one of the districts of Paris with the most new addresses in the guide. Finally, with 72 Bib Gourmands, Occitanie completes the trio of the most dynamic regions: 12 new restaurants have been awarded a Bib Gourmand for 2018, such as Disini in Montpellier where the talented chef Delphine Borrewater proposes elegant cuisine.”
What’s particularly new this time?
“Our inspectors are noting an increasing number of young chefs, often from abroad: English, Lebanese, Scottish, Peruvian,… There is something for everyone’s taste. France is a very attractive country for chefs from the world over. Another trend is the small size of restaurants, for 20 to 25 diners, with just one person in the kitchen and one in the dining room. This means that restaurants can be opened with less at risk, notably from a financial point of view.”
What about the historic chefs usually present in the MICHELIN guide?
“Amongst the new addresses selected for 2018, some have been created by chefs who have already been awarded one or several stars. They want to complete their offer by serving, in addition to their gastronomic restaurant, food that is still top quality, but simpler and cheaper. That’s the case of the Jardin des Crayères in Reims, supervised by the chef Philippe Mille, or the Bistrot, in Bonnétage (Franche-Comté), the second address of the chef Jacques Barnachon. Le Bistrot du 11, in Versailles, is that of the chef Jean-Baptiste Lavergne-Morazzani, whilst Le Cottage, in Chonas-l’Amballan, near Vienne, is run by the chef Philippe Girardon. Note too Le Café des Artistes in Ville d’Avray, which completes the gastronomic menus offered at Les Etangs de Corot by the chef Rémi Chambard.”
What are the major culinary trends this year?
“As they travel around, our inspectors have noted a boom, throughout France, in small restaurants which give priority to simple cooking, often with produce from local markets, built around limited menus and affordable products. Chefs are increasingly preferring local products, often very simple things, which they know how to magnify through working, for example, on the different varieties of cabbage, potatoes, onions… The chefs are also very good at playing with the seasons, in order to offer our taste buds quality dishes at affordable prices.”
What about other countries, do they have any Bib Gourmands?
“It all works on exactly the same principle! We also given Bib Gourmand awards to good little restaurants in Europe, the United States, Latin America, Asia … In short anywhere where MICHELIN guides are published. But, unlike in France, in some places there is not necessarily a guide specifically dedicated to this type of restaurant. The Bib Gourmands are sometimes indicated alongside restaurants that have received stars, in the country’s MICHELIN guide. Stars or Bib, our inspectors travel all over the world to select the best restaurants in 4 continents and 31 countries, and publish their results in 30 editions.”
The MICHELIN Bib Gourmand France 2018 guide is in stores now, priced 17.90 euros, and on the website www.restaurant.michelin.fr
The MICHELIN Bib Gourmand Deutschland 2018 guide is in stores now, priced 17.65 euros, and on the website www.bookatable.com/de
The MICHELIN Bib Gourmand Benelux 2018 guide is in stores now, priced 17.95 euros