I am a food barbarian. The Feb. 21 article “Tokyo’s samurai chefs devoted to their craft” got me thinking more about the wasted concern that restaurants, hotels and food professionals afford their Michelin ratings. There are only three things important to me about food: (1) is it delicious? (2) can I eat it fast? (3) how many calories does it give me?

I don’t care about how pretty food looks on a plate, the reputation of a restaurant, how the Michelin guide rates it, how carefully it is prepared and presented, or how skilled the chef/cook is said to be. I don’t particularly care about how “healthy” a certain food is deemed, either. I eat because I am hungry. My body needs to burn calories to keep moving. Dining is not an artistic experience so much as a gas station experience.

The article described “exquisite food” and “extraordinary things to eat” at Tokyo restaurants. Unless you are starving, there is little that’s “extraordinary” about food, and it seems rather immoral to relegate food to the realm of the “exquisite.” “Sea urchin flan, a warm salad with salted pork from the Pyrenees Mountains, fried sea bream and a red-wine consomme flavored with rabbit, deer and wild boar.” Is this a description of something to put in my mouth?

Chef Noboru Tani is quoted as saying: “It is pride and ambition that bind us. The food we serve is a reflection of how we live.” I suggest that pride and ambition are vices, not virtues, relegating this kind of culinary culture to the depraved, marginal bottom of society, not the revered, artistic high end.

grant piper