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History of Michelin Stars

 

Jump to:-    What are Michelin Stars ? How did Michelin Stars come about?  | What do Michelin Star Ratings Mean How do restaurants get them ?

 

 

 

 

Go to:  History of Andre Michelin  |  Main History Index Page  |  History of World Cuisines  
 


 

What are Michelin Stars ?

 

Michelin Stars are awarded for food excellence in restaurants. Today they are considered to be highly coveted awards by many chefs in Europe, although accusations of bias leads some chefs, especially outside of Europe, to turn their noses up at them.

 

 

How did Michelin Stars Start?

When did Michelin Stars Start?

 

Michelin stars are a feature of  the Michelin Guide books which were first published in France by Andre Michelin, the then co-owner of the Michelin Tyre Company.   In 1900 the first Michelin Guide listed a wealth of information for motorists which included where to find meals and accommodation and was aimed at touring motorists on holiday in France.

However, by 1920, the dining part had become so popular that Michelin set up a team of inspectors who would anonymously visit restaurants and rate them on a 3-category basis, now known as Michelin Stars for restaurants outside of Paris.

 

This new three-category classification system was soon extended to Paris and by the 1933 edition, 23 restaurants in France were rated with three stars. It was further extended to cover other European countries and although the system was dropped for a while, the 1951 edition saw the return of the three-star rating system, but with fewer restaurants achieving maximum stars.

Today, Michelin Stars are awarded sparingly to a small number of restaurants of outstanding quality.  For instance in the UK and Ireland 2004 guide only 3 restaurants were awarded three stars. They are also now closely linked with the chefs of those establishments which is why you sometimes hear a chef being referred to as a "Michelin Star Chef".

 

 

What do Michelin Star Ratings Mean

 

There are three levels of star ratings which can be awarded to establishments from 1 star to 3 stars.

 

3 stars "Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey"
2 stars "Excellent cooking, worth a detour"
1 star "A very good restaurant in its category"
 

There is also an additional fourth category- “Bib Gourmand”. This is named after The Michelin Man whose name is Bibendum. These restaurants are usually rated solely on the scale of "forks and knives". The forks and knives rating is given to all restaurants recognized in the guide, and range from one to five. One fork and knife being "Quite comfortable restaurant" and five being "Luxurious restaurant".

 


How are Restaurants Assessed for Michelin Stars

As in the past, Michelin employ inspectors to anonymously visit and evaluate establishments. Their aim is to pick out consistently high-quality establishments across a range of cuisines, styles and budgets.  Restaurants are rated in five categories:

Quality of the products
Mastery of flavour and cooking
The "personality" of the cuisine
Value for the money
Consistency between visits

 

Despite their fame, there are still many people today, both professional and non-professional cooks, who believe Michelin Stars to be meaningless, especially in the way they are awarded i.e. by individuals giving their personal opinions which can't help but be based on their personal likes and dislikes. After all, to keep the culinary theme, one man's meat is another man's poison.

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