How Does a Restaurant Get a Michelin Star?

A lot of chefs who aspire for greatness will at some point want to earn a Michelin star. Being awarded one will give a chef utmost respect in the culinary world and at the same time, will make your restaurant highly sought after.

A Michelin Star is a global restaurant rating system from tire company Michelin. When a restaurant earns one Michelin star, they are considered “a very good restaurant.” If they receive two stars that means they offer “excellent cooking that is worth a detour. Finally,  being awarded three stars means “exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey”.

Michelin Rating History

The Michelin Brothers André and Édouard who owns the renowned tire company in France created the Michelin Guide and gave it away for free. The first edition contained information about a step by step guide on how to change tires, as well as maps and information on where to find not only gas stations but also restaurants. Its goal was to promote the purchase of a vehicle by featuring all the places a person could go, thus increasing the demand for tires.  

They relaunched the guide in 1920 and by then people could get one for seven francs. It listed restaurants by categories, and they also included hotel listings and took out advertisements.

It was the restaurant section that became very popular and the brothers recruited a team to review the restaurants anonymously. By 1926 they started rating restaurants by stars, and 5 years later, they started rating them as zero, one, two, and three stars.

Today, the Michelin Guide covers 30 territories in 3 continents. Inspectors still review restaurants without letting themselves be known. 

How to Earn a Star

The first thing you need to understand is that Michelin only operates in certain regions, so that means your restaurant must be located within those specific regions.

Another thing to note is that Michelin has always protected their inspectors’ anonymity so you will never know when one will visit your establishment. Even most of the top executives at the Michelin company have never met an inspector, and these men and women are like secret agents – they’re not allowed to disclose their identity to anyone, even to family.

We don’t know for certain how they decide to award a star to a restaurant. Some chefs who have earned the stars have shared their experiences and they’ve mentioned that having a meticulously clean kitchen, a bias towards dishes with French culinary influence, and a staff that pays attention to every detail are crucial.

But to first get in the radar of the Michelin company, your restaurant needs to build a reputation and you can do that by collaborating with food writers, vloggers, bloggers and food publications. 

Back in 2018 in Singapore, 5 food and beverage experts talked about the evaluation criteria that Michelin inspectors use when rating restaurants.  These include:

  1. Using quality products and ingredients
  2. Master flavors and techniques in cooking
  3. Being able to incorporate the chef’s personality in the food
  4. Value for money
  5. Consistency of the dining experience with the food

As is always the case, a restaurant that has earned a Michelin star gets a lot of media attention and commercial value. However, this success would also entail a physical and emotional toll on the chef, kitchen crew and restaurant staff as they aim to maintain their level or strive to get another star in the future.

Category: Featured

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