By the way, what is a gourmet restaurant?

By the way, what is a gourmet restaurant?

Between the launch of the fifteenth season of “Top Chef” this Wednesday March 13 and the announcement of the new selection of starred restaurants on March 18, French cuisine will be dissected, peeled, dissected and boned from every angle. During this pre-spring period, which clearly constitutes a high point putting gastronomy in the spotlight, one concept will tirelessly come up in all discussions: the gourmet restaurant. But is there an official definition?

In “Top Chef”, we rarely talk about bistros and brasseries while the Michelin guide never honors – at least not in Europe, restaurants of this culinary genre in its starred selection (they are found more in the selection of Bib gourmand). The gourmet restaurant is the Rolls-Royce of French cuisine, its good student, if not the illustration of what refined and elegant cuisine should be. So many qualifiers which can only be subjective. So, what is a fine dining restaurant?

In Dubai, so that there is no misunderstanding, we used the argument of the expensive bill to define whether a restaurant is gourmet or not. The story can be savored by McDonald’s, which has just launched a campaign implying that people do not have enough to eat in gourmet restaurants. Its principle: to treat everyone leaving the table for free. The name of this communication stunt is unequivocal: “dinner after-dinner”.

To bite into a Big Mac after a tasting menu without (again) drawing your bank card, several conditions are imposed. First, the visit to McDonald’s really has to take place the same day (obviously). And when it comes to proof of purchase, all you need to do is present your bill. According to the advertising agency FP7 McCann which came up with this offer, the bill must be greater than 600 AED (around 150 euros) for it to be valid.

Can we really define a gourmet restaurant simply by its note, which is often considered salty? We are right to wonder, especially since chef Georgiana Viou launched an atypical offer last week by allowing her customers to choose the amount of the bill after dinner.

Let’s carry out a brief lexical analysis of the expression “gastronomic restaurant” to understand that the criteria for this definition can be different depending on the culture. In the language of Shakespeare, commonly used in the United Arab Emirates, the expression “fine dining” has more appeal to quality, or even health through the use of the word “fine” – at least in people’s minds. But in French, this use refers directly to cooking.

For its part, the Petit Sommelier website describes that “Gastronomy refers to the mastery of everything relating to cooking, to the art of appreciating and tasting dishes. Gastronomy is subject to a certain number of fairly strict rules and codes. A gourmet restaurant is thus recognized for its refined cuisine, in a pleasant setting and attentive service. The goal of this type of establishment is to provide its customers with the greatest taste experience by satisfying their palate. To achieve this, the chef uses quality, fairly expensive products and special culinary techniques. It is thus through the number of stars that gourmet restaurants are classified“. According to the Training Group training center, which organizes courses for professionals in order to obtain an operating and food hygiene permit, “to be classified as gourmet, a restaurant must offer sought-after cuisine, while having a cellar with great references. The setting is supposed to be pleasant and have a specific identity. The service and welcome must listen to the guests. Regarding the menu, it must have meat and fish dishes. Still, the distinction is based on the diversification and refinement of the products. Local products are therefore favored in these high-end establishments“.

However, if there is a name “artisan restaurateur”, created by a bill passed in the Senate in April 2023 in order to make the difference with restaurateurs who simply defrost products to reheat them before serving them, it Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a “gastronomic restaurant” designation. Moreover, the Michelin guide indicates that “any restaurant, regardless of its type of cuisine and style, can receive a star“. But we must recognize that there is a world in Bibendum’s world to match deeds with words…

NO to diets, YES to WW!