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August 1, 2013updated Aug 07, 2013

Interview with Restaurant Critic Andy Hayler

By Sam Hall

Ever dreamt of eating in every prestigious three-starred restaurant in that bible of culinary delights, the Michelin Guide? Well Elite’s resident fine dining critic Andy Hayler has done just that: for the last ten years, to be exact.

The multi-tasking gastronomer and software industry expert has since updated his foodie notes twice – once in 2008 and again in 2010 – as Michelin has expanded beyond Europe to cover the USA, China and Japan.

Here, the record-breaking Londoner sits down with Elite TV’s Alanna Lawson to talk favorite restaurants, regular trips to Japan and what the words ‘haute cuisine’ truly represent to him.

On the gospel word of Michelin, the fine dining aficionado notes: “I don’t necessarily agree with every single star that they have, but certainly for me it’s a filter. So something that gets three stars must have at least some merit… and to me it’s worth making a journey to try and explore.”

For Andy, previously a guest critic on BBC’s ‘Masterchef: The Professionals’, there are four main criteria involved in creating outstanding food: quality ingredients, a high standard of technique, good presentation and dishes that simply ‘make sense’.

“Where flavours are sort of harmonious and go together,” he explains, “and there aren’t too many elements and they aren’t clashing. That’s what I tend to look for in a meal. Probably that’s the sort of thing Michelin’s looking for as well, although they are very secretive about their process.”

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Andy’s career as a cuisine connoisseur was kick-started by authoring ‘The London Transport Restaurant Guide’, quickly followed up by the creation of a popular website, Andy Hayler’s restaurant guide – a site he continues to maintain today.

Asked why he continues to do what he does, the fine dining expert says: “I just enjoy finding really, really good food. I’m always an optimist when it comes to restaurants… I feel very positive towards new places. What is very exciting is when you come across somewhere you weren’t expecting to be particularly great and it turns out to be terrific.”

Click the video above to watch the full interview.

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