Michelin Stars: Colicchio Doesn’t Care, But Psilakis Sure Does

The stars didn't shine equally on Michael Psilakis (left) and Tom Colicchio.
The stars didn’t shine equally on Michael Psilakis (left) and Tom Colicchio.haha Photo: Kevin Wick, Getty Images

Michelin stars, like their celestial models, have enormous power to create and destroy; and even if, unlike their European counterparts, the New York versions lack the power to drive chefs mad or even to suicide, they can still mean a lot to a chef. We spoke to two chefs yesterday. One had lost and the other had gained a star, and neither man seemed unshaken by the event.

Colicchio, recapitulating Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief, at first expressed disbelief (“I can’t believe we’ve done anything less than we did last year”) and then acceptance (“I’m happy where we are”) at Craft’s having lost its star. Having opened a wildly successful Craft franchise in L.A. and with another one on the way in Atlanta, Colicchio is in a position, he feels, to ignore the matter altogether: “I didn’t grow up in France dreaming of Michelin stars, okay?” he says. “I grew up in New York wanting New York Times and New York Magazine stars. I think I know my place in New York.” Between the success of Craft and his Top Chef fame, Colicchio may disdain le guide rouge, but for the chefs just getting their first star, there’s a sense of profound vindication.

Michael Psilakis of Anthos sounded like a man who had reached the end of a long road when asked about his yesterday. To him, the star was a historic moment. “We’re very proud to be the first Greek restaurant outside of Greece to have a Michelin star. The whole goal behind Anthos was to make people appreciate that Greek could be taken seriously on an haute level. There is only one other Greek restaurant with a Michelin star in the world; this solidifies that we can stand up against the French, the Spaniards, and the Italians.” The Greek race should be further gladdened to hear that Esquire plans to make Psilakis its Chef of the Year next month. Of course, all chefs know that glory is fleeting, and fame a fickle mistress, but that doesn’t make its rewards, or its deprivations, any sweeter or less painful.

Third Edition of the Michelin Guide New York City Released [Michelin]
Related: Michelin’s Madness Drives Ed Levine (and Us) Up a Wall [Grub Street]

Michelin Stars: Colicchio Doesn’t Care, But Psilakis Sure Does