'I miss that feeling of expectation in the morning when I know I’m going somewhere special for lunch'

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th June 2020

A Michelin inspector has shared what he misses most about restaurants since the beginning of lockdown. 

Whether you fear or revere them, Michelin inspectors eat in the world's best restaurants for a living, and, as the pandemic has stripped many of a sense of purpose and direction, it has undoubtedly turned many eating out plans to mere fantasies. 

Wistful of simpler times, a Michelin inspector - anonymous as always - has shared his thoughts on what he has most missed throughout the pandemic. 

As one might expect, the anonymous writer said he misses his job and can't wait to get back to it - and he soon will, as Michelin director Gwendal Poullenec, has confirmed that guides would continue to be published as normal, despite Covid-19.

He added: "I miss restaurant food; ingredients I can’t get hold of and dishes I can’t make at home. I’m tired of home cooking – I want passionate, committed, talented and practised professionals cooking my dinner.

"I miss that feeling of expectation in the morning when I know I’m going somewhere special for lunch. Nothing beats the thrill of anticipation."

Read the full letter here. 

Anecdotally - and everyone in the industry likely have similar stories to tell - the inspector said: "I miss people doing strange things in restaurants. In Hong Kong once, two diners at the next table ordered a bottle of La Tâche – going rate at your local wine merchant €5,000-€6,000, never mind its restaurant mark-up. I witnessed them take a sip, grimace slightly and then pour a little water into their wine glasses. I’m not sure if they noticed me sobbing.

"I miss the goosebumps that spectacular dishes give me while I’m eating them.

"I miss the noise, the buzz, the hum, the rhythm and the air of expectation you find in established restaurants.

"I miss those few seconds where I simply stare at the dish in front of me before picking up my knife and fork.

In a show of affection for restaurants good and bad, the letter continued: "I miss good service and feeling the love; I miss comically inept service and feeling the apathy."

"I miss chefs. I miss playing tattoo bingo when there’s an open kitchen and I’m sitting at the counter. I miss seeing that fierce look of concentration on their faces, knowing that I’m about to be a recipient of something created out of that intensity."

"I miss eating out with friends and having funny, loud conversations in the flesh, instead of cyberchats with wobbly wifi and Pinteresque pauses."

How to land a job as a Michelin inspector is still shrouded in mystery - but unlike spies, the tyre company's staff get to tell their entourage what they do. 

The inspector joked: "I miss being asked by friends “How did you get this job?” – even though it sometimes came out as “How did you get this job?”" 


Hospitality folk, what do you miss most about restaurants? We'd love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments below!

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th June 2020

'I miss that feeling of expectation in the morning when I know I’m going somewhere special for lunch'