In the restaurant cosmos, Michelin stars offer order and hierarchy. They certainly don’t calm the incorrigibly disputatious industry; instead, they provide a focus for rivalry, competition and debate, as well as anxiety.

Ferran Adria, the legendary Spanish chef whose legacy has just been spectacularly celebrated in Copenhagen, says that one of the comforts of shuttering his restaurant El Bulli in 2011 — at the height of its powers — was no longer having to worry about retaining its three Michelin stars year after year. Critics may shower praise (or not), but what counts is your place in the empyrean determined by that offshoot of a French tire company.

That kind of artificial statistic has always irked me. Watching Adria enjoy his much-deserved accolades at Alchemist — the two-starred culinary dazzler headed by his youthful Danish admirer Rasmus Munk — I thought of how annoying it must have been to fret over the happiness of anonymous Michelin inspectors for the two decades or so El Bulli was the most difficult reservation in the world.