Even a person who is far from the restaurant industry and has the title of gourmet has heard about the culinary alternative to the Oscar. We are talking about Michelin stars, which are akin to Elbrus for world restaurateurs, climbing which for many is the goal of life.
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How It All Started
More than a hundred years ago, Andre Michelin, the head of the Michelin automobile tire corporation, wrote and published a guide for motorists, in which he listed and described the main places needed by drivers on the road:
- gas stations
- inexpensive cafes, eateries
- hostels and hotels
- tire repair shops
- some attractions.
That is everything that you may certainly need while traveling on wheels. Since 1900, the directory has been free, distributed to all interested in auto repair shops and gas stations, but it was not very popular. Andre continued to work on the collection, adding new locations and upgrading routes. After 20 years, a list of restaurants with average check prices appeared in it. Then the now famous “stars” were born, standing in front of particularly expensive establishments from the list of the guidebook, which became paid.
For several more years, the author rewrote and supplemented his work, changing the criteria for awarding the rating, the list of places, and the price segments of the restaurant industry. Since 1926, stars have been awarded not for high prices, but for really tasty, high-quality food.
Four years later, the rating began to vary from one to three, bringing the evaluation criteria closer to modern ones. I wonder if Andre Michelin assumed that he would change the history of the restaurant business with his initially ordinary reference book.
Today you can buy and study two types of reference books — green and red. The first one includes information for tourists about the sights of different countries and the best places to relax. And the “red” guide tells about the best restaurants awarded the “star” award. In addition, you can find useful information in it, find interesting places for gourmets and lovers of “delicious” travel, marked with special symbols, for example:
- A connected knife and fork – this symbol indicates locations that are not included in the rating, where delicious and high-quality food is served
- Moneta – establishments that are ready to receive and deliciously feed guests relatively inexpensively
- A glass of wine – restaurants with this sign will be the best choice for connoisseurs of a good wine list
- There are also designations symbolizing the views from the restaurant windows or the exoticism of the dishes offered.
These places can greatly diversify your gastronomic journey. Let’s focus in more detail on the classic rating. Let’s figure out what the maximum number of stars a restaurant can have and what they mean:
A decent establishment in a certain category with amazing cuisine and service. If you are nearby, be sure to visit.
The best restaurant in its category with unique dishes. If you drive nearby, make a detour for the sake of visiting, it’s worth it.
An exceptional place with the author’s cuisine of legendary chefs. It is worth planning the route of the trip exactly for his visit.
In such establishments, you will find the best quality service, expensive thoughtful interiors, exclusive cuisine, and the opportunity to see famous VIPs at neighboring tables.
How and to Whom Are Issued
The history of issuing Michelin stars has more than a hundred years, but even today the exact evaluation criteria are not known – all this is a strict trade secret. The process of studying restaurants is very long and painstaking, sometimes it takes several months.
All year round, Michelin experts travel around the world and visit various establishments (incognito, of course). Everything is under scrutiny: meeting guests and service, table setting, and the menu itself. To be awarded one star, the checks must be repeated at least four times, during which different experts will evaluate the work of the restaurant according to several dozen criteria.
But after receiving the coveted award, restaurateurs have no right to relax: it is much easier to lose stars than to earn them. It happened that after complaints from visitors and further anonymous checks, the award was canceled, and the owners of establishments and chefs had to fight again for the title of a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Where to Go In Search of Culinary Masterpieces
The cuisines of the world are very diverse, all have their characteristics and unique features. Every country dreams of having as many Michelin-starred restaurants on its territory as possible, but only a few manage to do it. There are points on the planet where tourists from all over the world flock to arrange a gastronomic tour of local establishments. Such countries and cities are called the culinary capitals of the world.
According to the latest data, there are about 600 “awarded” restaurants in the country. Most of them are located in the capital, but the rest of the cities are not far behind.
- Paris – L’ambroisie (3*), Guy Savoy, Epiture (3*),
- Monte Carlo – Louis XV (3*), Joel Robuchon Monte Carlo (2*)
- Courchevel – La Cave des Creux (3*), La Saulire (3*)
- Cannes – Villa des Lys (2*).
Many French establishments specialize not only in local cuisine, but also successfully experiment, adding exotic notes to dishes, molecular techniques, combining classics with daring modern trends.
To visit this country and not try the famous meat dishes is unforgivable for tourists. But Germany can surprise us with bolder solutions, unique dishes, and delicious recipes. German chefs skillfully combine different cuisines, leaving no guest indifferent.
- Capt´n Schillow (3*)
- Marjellchen (2*)
- Zur Haxe (2*)
- ZitadellenSchänke (3*).
Italian culinary art — there is no other way to call it — is only slightly inferior to the leader in the number of titled restaurants and is the second after France mandatory point of all gastronomic routes. A variety of seafood, vegetables, cheeses, and spices – all this makes the cuisine unique and appreciated by the Michelin rating.
- Rome – La Pergola (3*), Il Pagliaccio (2*)
- Navarre – Al Sorriso (3*)
- Bergamo – Da Vittorio (3*)
- Mantua – Dal Pescatore (3*), Ambasciata (2*)
- Florence – Enoteca Pinchiorri (3*).
We hope that this article was useful to you and you will visit one of the Michelin restaurants. There are such restaurants all over the world and deserve your attention.