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Michelin’s Restaurant Rating Guide

A well loved series of annual guidebooks is called the Michelin Guide, or Le Guide Michelin, which offers review for European hotels and restaurants by awarding Michelin Stars. The first guide was published in the year 1900 by Andre Michelin, and distributed for free for more than twenty years. The stars became part of the Michelin guide tradition in 1926, originally to note excellent cooking but later to denote excellence in other areas as well. Michelin’s restaurant rating guides are possibly the most recognized of all culinary ratings guides in all of Europe. Only the most outstanding quality restaurants are awarded stars in the guide, and may earn anywhere between one and three stars depending on the caliber of the restaurant’s quality. Stars are awarded sparingly in these guides, so only a small number of restaurants out of the several thousand that are listed are really granted at least one star, which represents “very excellent in its category”. Two stars in the Michelin guides represents ‘brilliant cooking and worth a detour”, and three stars represents “exceptional cuisine which is worth a special journey”. In the restaurant business, Michelin Stars are taken extremely seriously. On the strength of their reputation alone, restaurants with stars can easily charge much more for their meals than what you would expect to pay for an average restaurant.

From 1955 until now, the Michelin guides have also offered highlighted references to restaurants which offer what they call “excellent food at moderate prices”, which references food with a set maximum menu price. This feature is known as Bib Gourmand as a reference to Bib who is the Michelin Man on Michelin’s century-ancient logo.

According to a Michelin inspector who wrote a tell-all book in the year of 2004, despite the fact that Michelin claims to review every restaurant within 18 month blocks, they have really only visited these 4,000 or so reviewed restaurants every three and a half years or so, meaning that their standards have become lax. Pascal Rémy, the author of the tell-all, stated that unless a specific complaint was made, Michelin’s inspectors visited the reviewed restaurants much less often than they claimed. Sure enough, Rémy was sacked which is a decent indication of how right his words were.

Many international food critics have denounced Michelin’s rating system on the basis that it is unfairly biased toward French cuisine because Michelin’s guides are published in France by a French company. The New York Times spoke out about the omission of stars for highly reviewed restaurants in the New York City restaurant guide, while more than half of the restaurants that did receive stars were restaurants which served French cuisine.

Biased or not, the Michelin Guide is a superlative review for the highest quality restaurants in a large number of different countries. If you are looking for the absolute best that UK cuisine has to offer you, pick up the Michelin Restaurant Guide and allow it to take you on a tour of the incredible things your country’s restaurants have to offer you.

Charlie Morris is a restaurant connoisseur. His passions include his hand picked hubgrub.co.uk restaurant directory, eating out and eating in.

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