I have heard the word “Michelin stars” thrown around a lot in the restaurant industry, but I never actually looked into the source. I thought, for sure it wasn’t actually related to the TIRES! Boy, was I wrong…Michelin stars are given by the Michelin Guide, which is a rating system sponsored by Michelin, the tire company. Once I learned this, I had to do some research.
At the turn of the 20th century Michelin created the Michelin Guide to encourage motorists to travel. It was done in an effort to market their most recently introduced automobile. Now, that’s a stretch of a marketing ploy if I’ve ever heard of one! But, it caught on! This guide is more respected that Zaggat and it’s world-wide, which spreads further than Frank Bruni’s NY Times reviews.
There are 5 criteria factored into the designation of stars:
-The quality of the products
-The mastery of flavor and cooking
-The “personality” of the cuisine
-The value for the money
-The consistency between visits
Michelin has a team of full-time professional restaurant/hotel inspectors who anonymously evaluate establishments. All evaluations involve anonymous meals or overnight stays to have an honest assessment of the quality and the reliability of the experience.
One star = a very good restaurant in its category, a good place to stop on your journey.
Two stars = excellent cuisine, worth a detour, with specialties and wines of first-class quality.
Three stars = exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey, where diners eat extremely well, often superbly. The wine list features generally outstanding vintages and the surroundings and service are part of this unique experience, which is priced accordingly.
In addition to the awarding of stars, the Michelin Guide includes a description of each establishment and a variety of other symbols to give readers a clearer idea of the establishment’s ambiance, type of cuisine and specialties, and wine list, etc. The guide also provides a comfort rating with one to five forks and spoons for restaurants and one to five pavilions for hotels. These symbols take into consideration the decor, service, cleanliness and upkeep of the surroundings.
You learn something new every day…