Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spangle dangle: stars in the north

The Michelin results have been 'leaked' once more, and it's a case of something and nothing for the mighty north. Some things remain, comfortingly, the same: Fraiche has kept its star, Anthony's lack of Michelin status continues as a source of ire, Birmingham stays high-profile and ex-Alty man Paul Kitching has picked up a plaque for his Edinburgh restaurant, 21212. Northcote is still the most convenient option for the man standing in the middle of Manchester, thinking "where can I get me some star-studded snacks?".

Of course, the London news, especially the loss of a oner for Ramsay at Claridge's and the new three for Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, is big. But what strikes me is the lack of interest in the only 'rising two star' award in the UK, given to Simon Radley, the funny-looking fella on the right of our picture, who's been cooking at the Chester Grosvenor since I was a bairn.

'Rising' awards are difficult. They mean that the chef is tipped for the stars proper next year, but they're pretty unpopular among the recipients, hard to explain in print, and perhaps suggest that Michelin haven't got the prairie oysters to just sod it and give them the stars. Nevertheless, Simon Radley's new status is pretty interesting. I've been a couple of times and liked it, but I'm curious to know, after all this time, what he's done this year that he didn't do last. I think more of my fellow foodlers would also be curious, if only they knew or cared where nobbins it is.

The other award-winning place now on the H'n'H list is The Alderley Restaurant at the Alderley Edge Hotel. Footballers love it, we liked it when we went a few years ago at the height of the asparagus season, and now the AA has declared its affection: it was one of 12 places given three AA rosettes in this year's round. Caterer rightly describes this as shifting it into the big league, and it's pootling distance from Hale, so I'll be looking out my snootiest facial expression for a trip to the Edge.

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