The term “Michelin Star” is a hallmark of fine dining quality and restaurants around the world which tout their Michelin Star status. Of course, the hilarious part of all this is that this prestigious restaurant rating is from a tire company. Yes, the same Michelin that sells tires also doles out restaurant ratings.
Michelin’s Anonymous Reviewers
Michelin has a long history of reviewing restaurants, actually. In 1900, the Michelin tire company launched its first guidebook to encourage road tripping in France. In 1926, it started sending out anonymous restaurant reviewers to try restaurants.
To this day, Michelin relies entirely on its full-time staff of anonymous restaurant reviewers. The anonymous reviewers generally are very passionate about food, have a good eye for detail, and have a great taste memory to recall and compare types of foods. Each time a reviewer goes to a restaurant, they write a thorough memorandum about their experience and then all of the reviewers come together to discuss and decide on which restaurants will be awarded the stars. Michelin does not use any consumer reviews in making its restaurant determinations.
Michelin Stars Defined
Michelin awards 0 to 3 stars on the basis of the anonymous reviews. The reviewers concentrate on the quality, mastery of technique, personality and consistency of the food, in making the reviews. They do not look at interior decor, table setting, or service quality in awarding stars, though the guide shows forks and spoons which describes how fancy or casual a restaurant may be.
The stars are awarded as follows:
One star: A good place to stop on your journey, indicating a very good restaurant in its category, offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard.
Two stars: A restaurant worth a detour, indicating excellent cuisine and skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality
Three stars: A restaurant worth a special journey, indicating exceptional cuisine where diners eat extremely well, often superbly. Distinctive dishes are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients.
Top five Chefs with maximum Michelin Stars
While Robuchon is currently decorated with 25 stars, his record number bought him up to 28 at one point. A dip he may be experiencing, but the chef’s empire is set to expand, while he, a year shy of his 70th birthday, is eyeing up a bigger tally for the future. Robuchon, widely known as the ‘Chef of the Century’, is one of the pioneers of molecular gastronomy, though during his later career he focused on more traditional cooking techniques.
In 1998, Alain Ducasse was the first chef to ever collect 6 Michelin stars. 15 years later, that record is a distant memory, with Ducasse’s current number up to 21. Michelin star chefs didn’t get to where they are without having an unerring attention to detail. Ducasse is particularly well known for his, possessing an obsession with the finer points in just about anything, whether it’s in the kitchen or not.
If Robuchon has been, technically speaking, Chef of the Century, Ramsay has been the most famous, blaspheming his way onto television screens in just about every part of the English-speaking world. The restaurants under his name have amassed a total of 16 Michelin stars, but the current total stands at 7. Perhaps it’s a shame Ramsay receives more attention for his short fuse than he does his food, especially when he’s achieved so much his fellow chefs can’t – remarkably, his flagship restaurant in Chelsea has held three Michelin stars for almost 15 years.
The Michelin guide might not be the ultimate honour in the US, but Keller has gone about setting a fine example, as he’s the only American chef to hold all six out of his total seven stars simultaneously. Keller’s three star establishment French Laundry celebrated its 20-year anniversary last year, and was on two occasions deemed the best restaurant on the planet. He’s a chef who’s widely celebrated in America, and has made a good name for himself in France.
Heston has been one of the UK’s most popular chefs, though some might even go as far as calling him a national treasure. He currently holds six Michelin stars while the restaurant that claims three of them, The Fat Duck, was briefly thought the best restaurant in the world. Blumenthal’s successful career is for the large part thanks to his unique (bizarre, some say) techniques in the kitchen. Despite his inventive ways often questioned by the more conservative chefs, it would be unfair to say his efforts have not contributed to the refinement of British cuisine.
How many of us know that Indian chefs have also been awarded Michelin stars. Can you name five Indian chefs to be awarded this honour ?