Have LTHForum posters identified a Michelin Inspector in their midst? Speculation is running rife this morning on Twitter— where the edgier aspects of LTHForum conversation often take place, out of reach of moderation— that the choices on the Bib Gourmand list bear a substantial resemblance to the favorites of a prominent poster on LTHForum and Chowhound who uses the handle “Nsxtasy.”
The notion started as a joke yesterday, with one Twitterer saying that if Nsxtasy were one, Mundial Cocina Mestizo would get Michelin recognition. And in fact, it did. Suspicion grew when it was noticed that the Bibs had also honored Yolo, a little-known Skokie Mexican restaurant (the North Shore not exactly being a hotbed of authentic Mex)— which Nsxtasy had praised lavishly in this LTHForum thread. Other points of commonality, such as a liking for M. Henry, were noted, and one poster issued a prediction on the stars to be announced next week:
If Michael & Sable get Michelin stars, then we know he’s one.
So who is Nsxtasy? He is Ken Sax, an Evanston resident who does have some connection to the food publishing world— his late brother Richard was a cookbook author and the founding chef-director of Food & Wine’s test kitchen. We asked him point-blank if he was a Michelin inspector and his reply was firm:
Hell no! And if I were, I wouldn’t be posting about their selections without “full disclosure”.
Need I remind you of my unfortunate experience at Ria, their two-star winner? I’ve been as critical of their star winners (Longman & Eagle) as I have been generally positive about their Bib Gourmand designees. And I didn’t know about the “Michelin recommended” designation that was explained the other day.
Although that is pretty much what you’d expect a Michelin inspector to say, we’d have to say that it’s more likely he’s simply someone whose tastes match pretty well with Michelin’s (some exceptions noted). The real argument against him being one is simply the fact that if he were one, it would be unlikely that he’d be broadcasting these same opinions on the internet so widely.
Or maybe that’s what they want you to think…