Read again what I wrote. I said basically that there are OTHER traditions, such as kaiseki, which serve as the inspiration for some restaurants with 2 or 3*. That is to say, NOT ALL 2 or 3* restaurants are Keller “cover bands,” because they can very well be inspired by something OTHER THAN KELLER.
You’re misconstruing my statement.
To wit, I said I had around 7 courses at Saison last time. Not all canapés. I implied that saison was more directly comparable to a take on a kaiseki format than a Keller based menu.
Your analogy is misleading and not really applicable here. If there were such a restaurant and there were many copying that, sure, the contents of what’s being fed wouldn’t really be that material. The reason that they wouldn’t really matter that much is because the format would be so shocking and unique.
But we’re not dealing with everyone having the same format, namely the strapping and squirting. There is a difference between a meal consisting of 15-30 canapés and a meal consisting of 7 courses including barbecued items.
Differing format plus differing contents = not a “cover band”
And, as you admitted, sushi is different. It’s not uncommon for a sushi meal to involve around 15-30 servings - but those aren’t canapés, right?
What I’m saying is there are restaurants that are NOT presenting the same format as Keller, not a long an fussy procession of all canapés as you’d suggest, and not force feeding via strapping and squirting.
Let’s just say that what Keller’s restaurants share with virtually all 2&3* restaurants is that the meals they serve are fairly long. That doesn’t mean, though, that every 2&3* restaurant necessarily serves a tasting menu (even if such are favored by critics) or that every 2&3*’s meal consists of the same portion sized courses, or the same style of experience - which is to say, no, they’re not all “Keller cover bands.”
I doubt even Thomas Keller would conceive as all of the other 2 and 3* as “cover bands” of his restaurants. That is different than saying his success was influential to many.