Christian Millau, co-founder of the Gault&Millau Restaurant Guide (with his compatriot Henri Gault) died this weekend at the age of 88.
As a supporter of ‘true cuisine’ and originator of ‘Nouvelle cuisine’, Christian Millau dedicated his life to nominate and promote those chefs who value the produce they cook and excel in their craft. Some of the world’s most famous chefs (Marc Veyrat, Michel Guérard, Pierre Gagnaire, Joël Robuchon, and the late Alain Senderens to name just a few), were identified and supported by his passionate communication in the annual Gault&Millau Restaurant Guide which commenced in 1972.
Fiercely independent, Christian Millau was never one to mix his words when communicating his dining experiences. While chefs occasionally dreaded his analysis, he was always respected for his fair, ethical opinion which was openly shared with the chef as it was his desire not to ‘critique’ rather identify areas where chefs and restauranteurs could improve, a foundation that continues throughout the Gault&Millau network today.
More than putting a sticker in a front window of a restaurant, Christian Millau’s ambition was to make readers want to go to the restaurant. An idea that gave rise to the Julliard guide in 1969 (named after the publishing house) and then to the first guide Gault&Millau in 1972. "A restaurant is a theater, so we must give the reader the desire to visit”. “When I met Henri Gault I put forward the idea of making a guide in Paris and within just a year we became the best-seller of the year and sold 100,000 copies. "Says Christian Millau.
His philosophy on chefs was “A chef is an artist, a craftsman, he or she must be faithful to their own tastes and must not let themselves follow fashions and trends of time which will make them deviate obligatorily at one time or another”. “I think that we are presently there a little too often nowadays”. Says Christian Millau in 2016.
The Gault&Millau Restaurant Guide continues to support Christian Millau’s foundation of restaurant reviewing which is currently published in 13 Countries with Australia launching the 5th edition of the Gault&Millau 2018 Restaurant Guide in November this year.
“Today, Gault&Millau loses a precursor, a pioneer, a good man, in short, a ‘cracker’ who had the kitchen of the world in his skin and for whom "French kitchens" will always continue to talk about for a long, long time”. Côme de Chérisey, CEO Gault&Millau.