In the 2005 Re-made of this Sci-fi classic, Michelin's Benelux (which stands for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) Red Guide 2005 won itself a star, scandalously.
If you are a foodie living in Belgium, don't blame yourself for ignorance on the development of the food landscape when you see a new entry called Ostend Queen (named a Bib Gourmand in the Red) coming out of nowhere in the latest version of the red guide. Because Belgium newspapers Le Soir noticed that the restaurant was indeed not opened when the guidebook went to print. In fact, it only started to serve diners two months later.
In its report, Le Soir quoted the owner of the Ostend Queen restaurant, Fernand David, as saying his place got into the guide because of "good relations" he had with Michelin and because he was "sponsored" by an established three-star chef (Pierre Wynants, that is).
But this is not the first time Michelin's own reputation has suffered.
Last year former Michelin inspector Pascal Remy caused a storm with allegations that the guide checks restaurants only sporadically, employs few inspectors and lets some top restaurants undeservedly keep stars mostly because of their chefs' prestige.
On top of this, flashing 2 or 3 years back, the Italian Michelin Red was also under fire by Italian food critics for its lack of reliability and consistence. Most Italians (and me too) would tell you that the annual restaurant guide by Gambero Rosso is a smarter deal. It is way more detailed and more speedily updated by a large gang of food critics. Per contra, it was said that the Italian Michelin Red has less than 7 inspectors to cover the entire country.
I guess the gist from this series of story is that never rely your gastronome trip on one single food guide. Always read and surf more. I, for one, always read the latest edition of the Zagat, Michelin, and a whole bunch of guides on the net like the Epicurious and the eGullet before I reserve a table in France. When you think of all the Euros you gonna splash and the traveling time, not to mention the disappointment derives from a poor dining experience, it's really well worth the read and browse...