To obtain a Michelin Star is the dream of every chef with ambition, passion and talent but is not an easy task. Nowadays we have new restaurants opening every day and chefs that aim to bring at the table impressive and unique creations to allow the guests to experience a new world in terms of flavours.
Everything started in France in 1900, where Edouard and André Michelin created the Michelin Guide which at the time provided useful information to motorists, such as maps, tire repair and replacement instructions, car mechanics listings, hotels, and petrol stations. The Michelin Guide was used by the brothers to promote their unique brand of tires (now world famous Michelin). In 1926, the guide began to award stars for fine dining establishments. Initially, there was only a single star awarded and then, in 1931 the hierarchy of zero, one, two, and three stars was introduced. Finally, in 1936, the criteria for the starred rankings were published as followed:
In 1974, the first guide to Britain was published. twenty-five stars were awarded. The first restaurant in the UK to gain a Michelin star was Albert and Michel Roux’s Le Gavroche, in London. It went on to become one of the first UK restaurants to win a second star in 1977, and the first to win a third, in 1982. Today it is still open as a two star restaurant, run by Albert’s son, Michel Roux Junior. In 2010 the Roux family’s second restaurant, the Waterside Inn became the first restaurant outside France to have held three Michelin stars for 25 years. The Roux family was also influential in training and influencing other chefs who themselves have gone on to win Michelin stars, Marco Pierre White, Pierre Koffmann and the famous Gordon Ramsay all went on to open restaurants which earned three Michelin stars after working with the Roux brothers. The French chef Paul Bocuse, one of the pioneers of nouvelle cuisine in the 1960s, said, “Michelin is the only guide that counts.
In November 2005 Michelin produced its first American guide, concentrating on New York, covering 500 restaurants in the city’s five boroughs and 50 hotels (Manhattan only). In 2007 a Tokyo Michelin Guide was launched followed a year later by a Hong Kong and Macau volume being added to the list.
Working in the kitchen is a very difficult profession, long hours , the heat, the stress and the time away from the family have never been considered and lauded before the creation of the Michelin Guide. Being awarded a Michelin Star is a huge privilege for any chef and requires technical abilities, experience , precision , creativity, passion and most important respect for the ingredients but who is in charge of awarding this stars? The rating are determined by mysterious, totally anonymous inspectors. Michelin has refused to allow its inspectors to speak to journalists. The inspectors write reports that are distilled, in annual “stars meetings” at the guide’s various national offices, into the ranking of three stars, two stars, or one star—or no stars after the restaurants are visited at least twice by different inspectors.
Visiting a Michelin Star restaurant is not about eating, is about creating memories thanks to an harmony between food, service and atmosphere and this usually comes at a high price but in the recent years we have witnessed some changes in this tradition, for example the cheapest Michelin Star restaurant in the world is located in Singapore and offer the best roast chicken marinated in a secret soya sauce recipe at the unbelievable price of $1.50 per dish (restaurant Hawker Chan).
The Michelin Guide is part of Europe’s cultural heritage, the guide is published in 14 editions covering 23 countries and sold in nearly 90 countries.