Earning a Michelin star is one of the greatest accomplishments a chef can earn. It shows that you are one of the best chefs in the world and that you have that special something that many other chefs lack. Once you win your star, you can expect to see your name in lights and long lights outside your restaurant, as well in the iconic Michelin Guide. Find out more about Michelin stars and what you need to do to get one and join the elite ranks.
How Can a Chef Get a Michelin Star?
Chefs today can earn anywhere from one star to three stars. Restaurants that are among the best in a specific category receive a single star. You might get a star because you're one of the top restaurants in your country. To get two stars, you need to offer an experience that is worth taking a detour to enjoy. Some chefs receive this honor when they work in regions that are off the beaten path.
Earning three stars is much harder. These are the best of the best of the cream of the crop. You need to offer diners an experience that no one else can. Michelin only awards three stars to a handful of chefs and restaurants.
One unique thing that you might need to learn about this process is that it's anonymous. No one who reviews your work can tell you who they are or let you know they're connected to Michelin. They often come several times to sample your food to ensure a good experience each time. To earn a Michelin star, a head chef must focus on the entire package and not just the food, such as how well the waitstaff handles diners and how clean their bathrooms are.
What are Michelin Stars?
Michelin stars are awards given to the best restaurants and chefs in the world. Michelin's inspectors work for the company and are responsible for visiting different restaurants every year. They pay special attention to the food served and the ingredients used. While they focus little on the restaurant's atmosphere, they will include notes explaining whether they felt comfortable there and whether the areas they visited were clean.
Though chefs can earn up to three Michelin stars, they can also earn green stars. Michelin added green stars in 2020 to recognize the world's top sustainable chefs and restaurants. You can also earn a Bib Gourmand rating that shows you offer good dishes at affordable prices or a Plate symbol to show you offer delicious and simple food. These ratings appear in the Michelin guides and the official website.
What is a Michelin Guide?
The Michelin Guide is an annual guide published by the French tire company Michelin. It reviews restaurants and hotels around the world, awarding stars to venues based on the quality of their exceptional cuisine, service, and atmosphere. The guide is updated yearly with new information, ensuring diners have access to the latest reviews and ratings. Due to its prestigious reputation, receiving a star from the Michelin Guide is a major achievement for any restaurant or hotel for its excellent cooking and outstanding cooking techniques.
Find out in our blog post why does Michelin star system matter.
The History of the Michelin Star
The same company that makes tires is responsible for awarding Michelin stars. In 1900, the two brothers that owned and ran Michelin decided to launch guides for the new drivers on the road. They released more than 30,000 free books that helped drivers find the best things to do across France. It was such a hit that the brothers began creating books for other regions, such as Belgium and Spain.
Chefs started earning stars in 1926 when the guide awarded a single star to select restaurants. They added a scale that included up to three stars a few years later. The Michelin brothers gave one star to good restaurants, two stars to those that were worth checking out, and three stars to the best of the best. In the United States, there are only eight restaurants with three Michelin stars, which is the highest possible rating.
Read more about which are the world's most prestigious culinary awards.
How hard is it to get a Michelin Star?
It is hard to get a Michelin star and just as hard to keep. Even some top chefs in the world never received one of these awards. Aiden Byrne became the youngest chef to earn a Michelin star when he received his first star at just 22. At 93, Jiro Ono is the oldest chef in the world with a Michelin star. While there are millions of restaurants around the world, less than 3,000 have three Michelin stars.
Michelin Star Assessment Criteria
Earning even one Michelin star can change your life. Many chefs spoke out over the years about how the award made them famous and helped them secure the funding needed to open new restaurants. Whether you work in a restaurant or just dream of becoming a chef, ensure you have an idea of the assessment criteria that inspectors use to identify the chefs worthy of Michelin stars.
The ingredients you use are just one of the factors that inspectors use in their assessments. While you want to choose high-quality ingredients, you don't need to blow your budget on them. They look for elegant and delicious ingredients that are the best around, not necessarily fancy or expensive.
Some chefs earned their stars after creating dishes with ingredients other chefs ignored. Not only did this help them stand out from the pack, but it also kept their food costs low. Other restaurants that received stars offer farm-to-table cooking. They either partner with local farmers to get fresh ingredients or have their own farms.
Food Showcases the Chef's Personality
Chefs know how to express themselves on their plates. One thing that Michelin restaurant inspectors look at is whether the food quality they share showcases their personality. Showing your creative side also does a good job of helping you pull away from the pack. There are millions of chefs hoping to earn Michelin stars every year. Showing your fun and playful side is a good way to let the inspectors know that you're different.
Value for Money
Many people have a misconception that Michelin restaurants are always too expensive for normal diners. They think that they need to save for years to visit one or that those restaurants are only suitable for formal or special occasions. Inspectors often look at the value they get for the money they spend. They also look at the experience you offer. You don't need to spend much money on restaurant decor, though. Look for ways to make diners enjoy themselves and have an experience they'll want to share with others.
The Consistency of the Food and Dining Experience
Michelin's anonymous inspectors know that things can change at any time. That's why they do not review restaurants after a single visit. These professional inspectors often visit the same restaurants over a period of several months or longer. They compare their recent trips with their past experiences to ensure that everything remains consistent. If you have a bad service or get some poor produce, you don't need to worry about losing your chance at earning a star. The inspectors will notice if you are consistent in what you offer.
What Makes Culinary Education So Important?
Culinary education is important because it teaches the fundamentals you need to earn your first star. The top programs in the country include introductory courses where you learn the basics. You then learn how to build on those skills. Once you learn the mother sauces, you discover how to combine them with other ingredients to make classic dishes. A good program also gives you experience working in a kitchen, which you can use to land your first job. You'll have an easier time finding a job in a kitchen where you get recognized when you have a culinary degree or diploma.
And if you are a woman, don't be afraid, as there are female chefs with Michelin guide stars too! Find out who they are in our blog post for who are the most famous female chefs around the world.
Can You Lose a Michelin Star?
Michelin stars are not permanent. Even Gordon Ramsay lost some of his stars when Michelin revisited The London, one of his flagship Michelin-star restaurants in New York City. The most common reason why you might lose your star is when you no longer maintain culinary standards. This can include using bad or poor ingredients or a lack of consistency in certain dishes. Every dish that uses the same recipe and leaves your kitchen should look and taste the same.
You can earn your Michelin star back after you lose it, but this does require more work on your part. Not only do you need to make sure you meet all the criteria to earn your star, but you also need to be as consistent as possible. Many chefs even take some time off after they lose their stars. They spend some time remembering why they loved cooking and getting back to the basics, which gives them a new perspective in the kitchen.
What Happens When You Earn a Michelin Star?
The Michelin guides award stars to new restaurants every time a new book comes out and allows restaurants to keep their current stars. When you earn a star or additional stars, you receive a call from the company to inform you of your accomplishment. You also join an elite group of chefs. The United States has many restaurants with Michelin stars today. At least three of those restaurants closed after receiving their recognition. Earning a Michelin star is a blessing. You can advertise the rating and gain more diners. Many chefs also receive invitations to appear on television shows or to write books.
Getting a Michelin star takes a lot of work. It requires a lot of time, dedication, and a good understanding of culinary techniques. Start your career off on the right foot in a culinary program that can help you earn one of these coveted stars later.
In conclusion, getting a Michelin star is an attainable goal for any chef. However, it takes more than just great cooking skills—a commitment to the craft, the drive to stay one step ahead of the competition, and an undeniable passion for food that can only be found within you. If you have those things and work hard, you could soon find yourself running for a coveted Michelin star!
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