One NY chef loses Michelin star, another gains two

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tom Colicchio of “Top Chef” fame lost a Michelin star at his New York restaurant Craft, while British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay gained a rare two stars for his first U.S. venture.

British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay stands in the kitchen of his new restaurant "Gordon Ramsay at the London" at the London NYC Hotel in New York, November 16, 2006. Tom Colicchio of "Top Chef" fame lost a Michelin star at his New York restaurant Craft, while British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay gained a rare two stars for his first U.S. venture here. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Ramsay’s year-old restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at The London, won praise for “consistency in cuisine and service,” Michelin Guide director Jean-Luc Naret told Reuters on Monday.

“Gordon Ramsay deserved two stars, not because of his name and TV fame, but because of the consistency of the multiple visits by inspectors throughout the year,” Naret said.

Ramsay said he feels “vindicated” after being awarded two stars from Michelin for his Manhattan restaurant, following lukewarm reviews from critics. “I still won’t sleep until I get three stars in the bag!” he added.

“If you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere,” he said.

The 2008 guide, on sale Wednesday, marks the third year the Michelin Guide has rated restaurants in New York, and second year in San Francisco, after more than a century of critiquing only European establishments.

Michelin, which only expanded coverage to the United States in 2005, will publish new guides next month for Los Angeles and Las Vegas eateries. It also rates hotels.

British chef Ramsay gained renown with his television series “Hell’s Kitchen” and his frequent use of the f-word. His midtown Manhattan restaurant is styled on his flagship restaurant Gordon Ramsay, the only London restaurant given top marks of three stars by the Michelin guide.

The 2008 guide praised Ramsay’s $120, seven-course Menu Prestige, saying, “You’ll find yourself sampling everything from velvety foie gras and striped bass with caviar veloute to a fluffy apricot souffle.”

The three New York restaurants that received three stars in the 2008 guide were the same from the previous year: Jean Georges, Le Bernardin and Per Se.

One star means “a very good restaurant in its category.” Two stars signify “excellent cuisine, worth a detour” and three stars tout “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”

The stars weren’t aligned for another high-profiled chef.

Colicchio, who is perhaps best known as the head judge of Top Chef, lost his one-star rating at Craft. “It doesn’t mean that the chef has less talent. It’s just that the consistency was not there,” Naret said.

The New York guide will again feature the Bib Gourmand category for good value, defined as serving with two dishes and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less. Among the 52 restaurants chosen were Daisy May’s BBQ and Prune.