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Lunch with a Michelin guide inspector

John Colapinto dines with and interviews the mysterious inspector “M”, who works for the historically very secretive Michelin guide. One bit of the interview really troubled me, in which they discuss reasons for denying a restaurant a third star:

“But it wasn’t there.” “In terms of consistency?” I asked. “Consistency—and accuracy,” she said. “It’s just technical. I mean, cooking is a science, and either it’s right or it’s wrong. And that’s something that’s very objective.”

That doesn’t sound like any science I’m familiar with. Science is all about teetering on the precipice of the unknown. Living and working there means embracing one’s own ignorance and coping with failed experiments, false hunches, unprovable conjectures, and inconsistent results. Science is always on the cutting edge, inventing new methods and generating data far beyond anyone’s current understanding of what is the “right” or “wrong” way to do it.