The Michelin Star is the most coveted restaurant industry award in the world, and the granting of one signifies that an eatery has reached the rarest of culinary heights. But what makes an establishment Michelin worthy? What are the prerequisites for these most elusive and sought-after accolades? We take a look below at what, exactly, a restaurant needs to do to be in the running.
What’s Being Judged?
When it comes to being awarded one or more Michelin Stars, it’s entirely about the food.
Michelin inspectors, when they visit, are focused only on the dishes on offer: how they taste, how they look, and flavor combinations, for example, and we explore this fully below. The inspectors won’t weigh restaurant decor, theme, or ambiance in their decision at all; so while having beautiful tables and stylish restaurant chairs are vital for the experience of your average guest, they’re not going to get you any closer to one of those special Stars, sorry to say.
How To Get One Michelin Star
The Michelin panel is notoriously secretive in their decision-making processes, but there are some clues to gauging what they’re looking for in their guide, as well as the experiences of restaurants that have successfully climbed Michelin Star Mountain.
According to the Michelin Guide, restaurants that are awarded one Star are deemed to be well worth visiting if you happen to be in the area where one is located. It’s all about consistency when it comes to a single Star. The chef(s) should be able to produce all of the dishes on the menu to the highest standard every single time.
Establishments that feature ‘stand-out’ or distinctive menus are thought to be more likely to attain a Michelin star. Eligibility to be reviewed by an inspector is believed to be determined by the nature of the reviews that your restaurant has received by food critics and via blog posts.
There are currently 2160 restaurants in the world that hold one Michelin Star; these eateries are thought to be visited by inspectors every two years.
Trying For Two Stars
In comparison to a single Star, only 385 restaurants worldwide have been awarded two Michelin stars, which reflects the spectacularly high level of culinary accomplishment that an establishment needs to demonstrate to enter this exclusive club.
For Two Stars, inspectors are looking for more than just amazing taste and flavors; the quality of the ingredients used will also be taken into consideration. Some restaurants try to protect their existing Stars by using rare, hyper-unusual ingredients in their newly developed dishes.
Consistency is weighed even heavier at this level; inspectors are thought to check Two Star restaurants every two months, and a single small drop in quality could result in the loss of the award. The Michelin Guide defines Two Star restaurants as those that are worth deviating from your route to visit.
Three Is the Magic Number
There are only 106 establishments in the whole world that currently boast three Michelin Stars, the highest accolade of them all, and the approval of several inspectors needs to be granted to secure this most prized of awards; these are restaurants worth going out of your way to visit.
For Three Stars to be given, food, ingredients, and technique must be absolutely exceptional. Creativity is also important, with chefs who innovate new trends or modes of cooking and food preparation much more likely to be tipped for Three Stars: Heston Blumental is an example of a chef who exemplifies all of these elements and has a Three Star rated establishment to reflect this.
Unique Michelin Starred Restaurants Worldwide
De Kas in Amsterdam is a restaurant within a converted twenty-six-foot high greenhouse and offers a unique dining experience. Freshness is the focus here, with the meal diners being served using ingredients harvested that day at sunrise.
Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle is located in Singapore and is the cheapest Michelin Starred eatery in the world, is counter service, and meals cost about $1.50.
Tsutu in Tokyo is the first ramen bar to feature in the Michelin Guide. Within this tiny establishment, guests can dine on delights such as rosemary-flavored barbeque pork and soy sauce ramen with porcini mushrooms.
The Life Of A Michelin Inspector
As sought-after as a Michelin Star is, a career as a Michelin inspector ranks as one of the most desirable jobs in the world!
After a period of training and shadowing, inspectors hit the road and travel incessantly between establishments worldwide: inspectors can expect to be traveling for three weeks a month and to eat and review nearly three hundred meals a year.
Preserving anonymity is crucial, with some of those working in this role changing their hairstyles regularly to go undetected; only family and close friends must be told of your real identity if you’re a Michelin inspector.
Detailed reports need to be written up following every inspection, multiple visits may be required, and news regarding particular establishments must be kept up with. According to past inspectors, the job is a challenging one. But, I don’t know about you, but I think it’s a challenge I’m ready to undertake.