Letter: Restaurant guides for the starry-eyed

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Sir: Keith Botsford's confidence in the Michelin Guide (Food and Drink, 20 February) will not be shared by those who recall how its standards were called into question by the award in 1984 of a two- star rating to Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, at Great Milton, in Oxfordshire, almost two months before it had served a single meal.

The bizarre pre-opening accolade would not have been recognised as such but for a delay in completion of the restaurant, which meant the guide was on the shelves before the first customers were served. The explanation offered by the guide's editor was that as Mr Blanc's previous restaurant in Summertown, Oxford, had two stars, and as he said that 'he would be carrying on in exactly the same way', it was justified to award the restaurant two stars even before it opened.

Yours faithfully,



21 February