The French Are Lé Pissed About That Brutal Yet Glorious Restaurant Review

As you’ve no doubt read by now – or heard about, at the very least – food critic Jay Rayner shredded Michelin three star restaurant Le Cinq like three day-old coconut.

In his widely-shared review for The Guardian, Rayner decried his €600 ($846) meal at one of Paris‘ top restaurant, poetically describing the vast array of miserable dishes as tasting like “eating a condom that’s been left lying about in a dusty greengrocers”, containing “the blunt acidity of the sort that polishes up dulled brass coins”, or “like something that’s fallen off a burns victim”, depending on which disappointment came to grace his table.

The review, unlike the meal, is a work of art.

But shockingly enough, the French don’t see it that way. In fact, they’re quite bloody incensed that an Englishmen has crossed the channel, pulled up a gilded seat, and taken their chefs’ creations to task.

Le Figaro asked “but which fly has piqued the perfidious critic?” before raising an eyebrow to the dishes which did just that.

“The opinion of Jay Rayner, funny and bitter, in the purest Anglo-Saxon tradition is carved to make the buzz. There is no doubt that it will reach the English public.”

Libération went even harder, proclaiming everything to be going well at Le Cinq until “Jay Rayner got involved”, and quoted a close friend of Head Chef Christian Le Squer as saying:

“It’s not criticism, it’s entertainment. It’s very excessive to make people laugh. The readership of the Guardian responds well to the “rich bashing”. He came to pay himself a French chef with a funny and effective speech on anti-rich rhetoric. Difficult to parry that. It is also an English logic versus pretentious French frog eaters.”

But Le Monde, France’s largest paper, is utterly scathing of the entire exercise.

“This deliberately exuberant criticism has the merit of amusing Internet users and undermines French audacious cuisine,” it wrote, before including a similar quote as Libération, presumably from the same friend.

The paper, however, took the quote to its full completion:

“These are clichés at the expense of a great leader. All this to make buzz and exist media.”

Sacré bleu. 

Photo: Jay Rayner.