Food guide puts three top chefs in a stew

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The Independent Online
THE 1993 issue of The Good Food Guide is bound to have at least three of Britain's leading chefs gibbering with fury. Chez Nico, run by Nico Ladenis and ranked one of only four top British restaurants in last year's guide, has lost its entry.

Mr Ladenis moved last August from Great Portland Street to the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane. He took his waiting staff, his entire kitchen brigade, the copper, china and cutlery. Only the address changed, yet Mr Ladenis, who has risen to the top over 20 years, finds Chez Nico disqualified as an unknown quantity.

Raymond Blanc, chef-proprietor of Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Great Milton, Oxfordshire, has re-entered the tiny top rank accorded 5 stars, after last year's demotion by half a point. That was seen as philistinism by the Times critic, Jonathan Meades, who wrote: 'I can see that Mr Blanc's displaced metropolitanism might not appeal to the earnest burks whose expressions of hideously puritanical daring underpin the GFG.'

Tom Jaine, editor of the guide, appears to be returning fire by condemning the running of the country house hotel. The flattering score pertains only to the food.

'Young ladies on the front desk need to learn more about a sense of welcome,' says the entry for Le Manoir. The conservatory is described as decorated in 'florid lime greens and pinks', permeated with 'slight smell of stale food, and judged to resemble 'an over-decorated motorway service station'.

Michel Roux might also feel aggrieved. As chef-proprietor of the Waterside Inn at Bray, Berkshire, he runs one of only two restaurants in Britain accorded three Michelin stars.

His brother, Albert, runs the other, Le Gavroche in Mayfair. The new guide demotes the Waterside Inn from four to three stars.

This is either a vivid insult to Mr Roux, or a florid compliment to markedly more modest restaurants also rated 3, such as Odette's, a north London bar-restaurant.

The Good Food Guide 1993 (the Consumers' Association and Hodder and Stoughton, pounds 14.99)