When one thinks of 5-star restaurant experiences, we naturally think of Michelin stars. Did you know, the Michelin tyre company published a guide to help French motorists find accommodations on the road in 1900? Oui oui! Nearly 35,000 copies of the free edition were distributed; providing information to motorists including maps, tyre repair and replacement instructions, car mechanic listings, hotels, and petrol stations throughout France.
This guide’s now widely renowned as the Michelin Guide and is devoted to fine dining. Over the years, the guide has exceeded its unpretentious motoring origins ironically, to become a revered source in fine dining and five star service levels to chefs, foodies, culinary experts, restaurants, hoteliers and those in the hotel supplies business.
Commendable restaurants are evaluated on a system of one to three stars. Specially trained, meticulous Michelin judges known as inspectors visit restaurants anonymously and rate the service, décor and, of course, the cuisine.
In order to ascertain which restaurants are worthy of appraisal, inspectors hunt through websites, blogs and reviews within mainstream mediums such as respected magazines and newspapers. Restaurants garnering hype and word of mouth may be lucky (or unlucky) enough to come under the reviewer’s radar.
Michelin Star Ratings
The listing of starred restaurants is updated once a year but what does each star mean? According to the guide, one Michelin star represents a “very good restaurant in its category,” while two stars signifies a restaurant boasting “excellent cooking” that is “worth a detour.” Three stars, is the ultimate accolade, presented only to those restaurants that offer “exceptional cuisine” that’s “worth a special journey.”
So what’s the criteria?
To be honest, no one really knows as Michelin remains secretive about the assessment process used however certain elements are identified as being: quality of products and ingredients used; a chef’s mastery of cooking techniques; the chef’s ability to permeate gastronomy with their own culinary flair and importantly, consistency between visits. Note – this is not just when it comes to food as it also encompasses the overall dining experience.
Just because a restaurant may receive one star – doesn’t mean they are likely to receive a second or third star either. For this to occur, it’s going to take numerous visits over subsequent years.
Steps to increase the likelihood of receiving Michelin stars
From a restaurant’s perspective, the process of receiving a star is subjective. However, there are a few things to keep in mind and follow if you would like to improve your own star rating amongst guests. Who knows, you may even receive a Michelin star!
Treat every night as if it’s the night of a Michelin inspection, with chefs and staff working together and having the right training implemented to help them get you there.
Learn from the best
For a chef seeking a Michelin star, train under a chef who’s already earned one or more stars. Try and become the protégé of a chef who’s already earned the respect of Michelin as an up-and-comer can get on Michelin’s radar.
Consider using profits to reinvest into your restaurant improving décor, to better train and educate staff and source higher-quality ingredients.
Be the wizard of what you know!
Specialise and become an expert in the types of food you are most comfortable with. Only by attaining a mastery of a particular cuisine will a chef be able to push the boundaries and go into bold, fresh new waters.
You could potentially gain Michelin’s attention by being on the cutting edge of new food and cooking trends.
Source fine ingredients
Ingredients are key and the foundation of any dish. Michelin-starred chefs are known to source hard-to-find ingredients, creating relationships with farmers, artisan bakers, cheese-makers and the like in order to work with the best, most unique ingredients possible.
Now that you know a little more about Michelin star ratings and guidelines, hopefully you can improve your own 5-star restaurant rating, even if you’re simply a masterchef at home!