How the Prestigious Michelin Star System Works
Fine dining places compete for a Michelin award since it is one of, if not the most, regarded restaurant guides in the world. Although the book has a significant impact, it nevertheless remains mysterious, and people frequently inquire about how to earn a Michelin star. So what is the secret ingredient?
To start, it's crucial to note that restaurants, not cooks, receive Michelin stars. There is no such thing as a "Michelin-starred chef," and the star does not follow the head chef when they leave a restaurant. However, the success of many of the world's top restaurants is directly related to the chef in charge. For instance, it is generally acknowledged that Thomas Keller, the chef, and owner of California's The French Laundry, is to blame for the establishment's three-star rating.
The Michelin tire business first introduced the guide in France in 1900 to entice motorists to travel more, but the first-star rating wasn't made public until 1926. Despite having a global reputation, the guide does not cover every country or region. Each guide is broken down by place. Even New York and Tokyo, which are generally regarded as the world's capitals of fine dining, were just admitted in 2005 and 2007, respectively. Naturally, your restaurant must be located in one of the regions covered to receive a Michelin star.
How are Michelin stars awarded?
Nearly a century after its founding, Michelin continues to grade restaurants using the same criteria. The Michelin guide employs thousands of inspectors who travel the globe to sample the best cuisine on offer to award its prized stars. To find the finest of the best, the highly experienced inspectors will visit hundreds of eateries annually.
Michelin inspectors are never identified to prevent them from receiving special treatment while dining. The credibility of the guide would be compromised if the inspectors' experience differed from that of the ordinary guest's booking, dining, and payment procedures. The inspectors are urged not to even disclose their position to their closest relatives and friends because the value of their secrecy is so great.
Following an inspection of each restaurant under consideration, the Michelin guide director convenes "star sessions" with the international teams to discuss how each restaurant should be rated. These discussions frequently go on for days as each establishment is examined separately until a consensus is achieved. The outcomes are subsequently made available in a country-specific guide.
What do Michelin stars mean?
A maximum of three stars may be awarded to restaurants (as well as some additional awards, but more on that later). According to Michelin, a single star denotes "high-quality cooking, worth a stop," a pair, "outstanding cooking, worth a detour," and a coveted three, "extraordinary cuisine, worth a special journey." Inspectors reportedly look for wholly unique eating experiences that stick in the memory long after the dinner is over to raise a restaurant from two stars to three. Another important consideration is how well a chef expresses their style or personality in their meals.
A single visitor or inspector is never used to determine the final score. Instead, a team of inspectors will go to different restaurants on several occasions to check on the consistency of the quality. After that, the ranking will be reevaluated based on yearly visits, with certain decisions taking into account multiple meals. It is well known that inspectors base their decisions on the quality of products, culinary techniques, taste, consistency, and value for money, while the exact criteria are kept under wraps to prevent cooks from engaging in a tick-boxing exercise.
Importantly, the judges are told not to consider a restaurant's ambiance or level of service while voting on its star rating. Even if your restaurant is exquisitely designed and your wait staff is expertly trained, a star won't be awarded if the food isn't up to par. Similar to this, a restaurant that serves excellent food in a modest atmosphere may nevertheless be qualified for the full trio of stars.
Alternative Michelin awards
Although the Michelin stars are its most well-known honors, the guide also gives other accolades. Michelin has given fourth-star ratings in addition to the Bib Gourmand since 1957, the Michelin Plate since 2016, and most recently, the Green star, which was unveiled in 2020. The Bib Gourmand designation, which should not be mistaken for a lesser honor than the star ratings, is a separate category that honors great cooking at more affordable pricing. While there is no defined price for starred restaurants (even though value for money is one of the factors considered), Bib Gourmand restaurants are required to offer a three-course meal for less than a certain price that is determined by local averages.
The Michelin Plate honors deservingly good food that isn't exactly on par with that found in Michelin-starred or Bib Gourmand establishments but is nevertheless deserving of praise. The title is given based on the same standards by the same judges; businesses sometimes start at this level before moving up after a subsequent inspection.
How to get a Green Michelin star
The Green Michelin star, which stands apart from all of the other accolades bestowed by the book, is only given to eateries that go above and above to conduct their business in a way that is both morally upright and environmentally responsible. Only establishments that have already won a Michelin star, Bib Gourmand, or Michelin Plate are eligible to acquire a green star.
With the introduction of the Green star, the Michelin guide acknowledged that, because every restaurant and location has different circumstances, its inspectors do not adhere to a set of criteria for bestowing the designation. The inspectors, however, are likely to take into account several aspects, such as whether a restaurant uses regional and seasonal ingredients, the amount of food waste and waste management practices, environmental impact, and supplier credentials.