History of Michelin Stars
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History of World Cuisines
Michelin Stars are awarded for food excellence in
restaurants. Today they are considered to be highly
coveted awards by many chefs in Europe, although
accusations of bias leads some chefs, especially
outside of Europe, to turn their noses up at them.
When did Michelin Stars Start?
Michelin stars are a feature of the Michelin Guide
books which were first published in France by Andre
Michelin, the then co-owner of the Michelin Tyre
Company. In 1900
the first Michelin Guide listed
a wealth of information for motorists which included where to find meals and
accommodation and was aimed at touring
motorists on holiday in France.
However, by 1920, the dining part had become so popular that
Michelin set up a team of inspectors who would
anonymously visit restaurants and rate them on a
3-category basis, now known as Michelin Stars for
restaurants outside of Paris.
This new three-category classification system was
soon extended to Paris and by the 1933 edition, 23
restaurants in France were rated with three stars.
It was further extended to cover other European
countries and although the system was dropped for a
while, the 1951 edition saw the return of the
three-star rating system, but with fewer restaurants
achieving maximum stars.
Today, Michelin Stars are awarded sparingly to a
small number of restaurants of outstanding quality.
For instance in the UK and Ireland 2004 guide only 3
restaurants were awarded three stars. They are also
now closely linked with the chefs of those
establishments which is why you sometimes hear a
chef being referred to as a "Michelin Star Chef".
There are three levels of star ratings which can be
awarded to establishments from 1 star to 3 stars.
3 stars "Exceptional cuisine, worth a special
2 stars "Excellent cooking, worth a detour"
1 star "A very good restaurant in its category"
|There is also an
additional fourth category- “Bib Gourmand”. This is named after
The Michelin Man whose name is Bibendum.
These restaurants are usually rated solely on the scale of "forks and knives".
The forks and knives rating is given to all restaurants recognized in the guide,
and range from one to five. One fork and knife being "Quite comfortable
restaurant" and five being "Luxurious restaurant".
As in the past, Michelin employ inspectors to
anonymously visit and evaluate establishments. Their
aim is to pick out consistently high-quality
establishments across a range of cuisines, styles
and budgets. Restaurants are rated in five
Quality of the products
Mastery of flavour and cooking
The "personality" of the cuisine
Value for the money
Consistency between visits
Despite their fame, there are still many people
today, both professional and non-professional cooks,
who believe Michelin Stars to be meaningless,
especially in the way they are awarded i.e. by
individuals giving their personal opinions which
can't help but be based on their personal likes and
dislikes. After all, to keep the culinary theme, one
man's meat is another man's poison.