Without knowing a lot more about the French restaurateur Bernard Loiseau, it seems reckless to ascribe his recent suicide to the seemingly negligible change in his restaurant La Côte d'Or's Gault-Millau rating from 19 (out of 20) to 17. Years ago another French restaurateur did famously commit suicide when his restaurant dropped to two stars from the coveted three in the Michelin guide, but Loiseau's Michelin rating remained unchanged in the new guide from the three stars it had held since 1991. The Michelin star system was created in 1926, but in those more innocent times, the stars (one star: a very good restaurant in its category; two: excellent cooking, worth a detour; three: exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey) were awarded largely on the basis of the restaurant's food. Only after many decades did restaurateurs feel the need to invest millions of dollars in interior decoration and fancy china, silver, and glassware to wrest that all-important third star from the guide's anonymous... More >>>