So the Michelin stars have been doled out again and with one exception there’s been no change in Yorkshire. But what a exception. The Star at Harome has been stripped of its star to complete an annus horribilis for Andrew and Jacqui Pern what with a food poisoning scare, personal upheavals, the rebutted story of bullying in the kitchen and a vague worry that Andrew Pern has been spreading himself too thin with all his demos and publicity shots. There will be schadenfreude on some lips not least because Pern made no secret of his ambition to win a second star.
A few days ago we warned against putting too much trust in the Michelin star system. It’s simply not the best barometer of the best food, merely of a style of food. The trouble is that the Oscar-winning film and the Booker Prize-winning book may not be the best but they don’t half double their money once they win. If there’s any wryness to be had out of the Star’s demotion it is that Welcome To Yorkshire’s hugely funded promotion of Yorkshire dining, which is relentlessly defined by the county’s Michelin stars and personified by Andrew Pern’s smiling face on its magazine covers, will have to have an overdue rethink.
Meanwhile let’s not bury Caesar yet. I’ve eaten at the Star twice in the last 12 months and while I’m no big fan of the new dining room or its two-star ambition now so badly punctured, I have to say the food was still on terrific form. This is not a case like Winteringham Fields where a once great restaurant was critically diminished by the loss of Germaine Schwab from the kitchen. The Perns created something unique at the Star. They’ll be terribly hurt by today’s news but I hope they trust in what made them great in the first place and learn not to give a stuff about the blown-up Michelin. And I hope their clientele follow suit.