Bonjour! Ça va? Hello! How are you?

In The Boy Who Wanted to Cook, young Pierre lives in the French countryside with his father, a chef and his mother, a pastry chef. His whole family loves to cook, so it is no surprise that Pierre does, too! Pierre's parents think he is too young to cook. He honors their parents' wishes, but is determined to demonstrate that he too is ready to be a great chef!

As Pierre's parents know, quality and service are two of the most important aspects of the restaurant experience. In France, truly impressive restaurants receive an appellation known as a Michelin star.  The Michelin star is similar to the honor Monsieur Valcourt received after the inspector ate at La Bonne Vache.

Michelin stars are given out by inspectors who, as Pierre knew, pride themselves on being completely anonymous. It is important for an inspector's identity to be kept secret, and they take their jobs very seriously. Founded by Édouard and André Michelin in 1900, the Michelin stars and inspectors have a long history.

More information on France itself can be found in E is for Eiffel Tower: A France Alphabet

 

As Pierre rides his bicycle under the chestnut trees he
imagines a chestnut soufflé. When he passes a wood he thinks
of the little morilles, the tasty mushrooms that grow there.

A pair of goats look to him like a very large goat cheese. On the green
leaves of the vineyard he pictures the delicious escargots, the snails,
nibbling away. To Pierre, all the world is one big beautiful meal.

A car stops and the driver calls to Pierre, “I am a stranger to these
parts. Can you tell me, young man, where I can find La Bonne Vache?”

Pierre leans into the car to give directions to his family’s restaurant.
On the seat next to the man he glimpses a paper that says “Inspection
Form.” On the form is the name of the famous company that awards
stars to restaurants. If the restaurant is very, very, very good it
receives a star and people from all over go there to eat. Inspectors
test the restaurant by having a meal there, but there is a strict rule
that the identity of the inspector must never be revealed.

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