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How did the Michelin Guide Get Started?
Did you know that the Michelin Guide actually started from the Michelin tire company?
Ever noticed how the tire company Michelin and the Michelin Guide have the same logo? That’s because our coveted Michelin star restaurants started with this tire company itself. Michelin Tires launched in 1895 in France when there were less than 400 cars in the entire country. The desire to increase the number of cars on the road–and in Michelin’s case, the number of tires sold–led to the start of the tire company publishing their ‘Red Guides’. A nearly 400-page guide had all the details on how to install the Michelin tires, maps, time tables for when the sun would set, where to find gasoline, an entire section dedicated to ads, and then a list of some of the most exquisite restaurants and hotels all over France. A this point in history, food tourism and owning a car were considered luxuries. One of the purposes of distributing these red books was to create a desire amongst the small car owning community to explore these restaurants and hotels, leading people to drive more and therefore leading to more Michelin tire purchases. Who would have thought that the institution would become what it is today!
What is the difference between Michelin Guide and Michelin Stars?
There is a significant difference between being noted in the Michelin Guide and then having Michelin stars. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me they’ve eaten at a Michelin Star restaurant which was in fact simply a restaurant recognized by the Michelin Guide.
The Michelin Guide is a VAST collection of THOUSANDS of restaurants! The approach for Michelin Stars is quite conservative in comparison. Read on below to see what makes a Michelin Star unique.
What do the Michelin Stars mean?
Michelin describes it’s ratings as the following:
- One Star: “High quality cooking, worth a stop!”
- Two Star: “Excellent cooking, worth a detour!”
- Three Star: “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey!”
Seems like they need a new branding specialist if you ask me.
How does a restaurant obtain a Michelin Star?
For how simply the official website has described the stars, the process of giving stars isn’t as easy.
Michelin does not publish nor reveal the criteria for its Michelin star ratings. What we do know is that the company grades based on five main categories:
1. Quality of products
2. Mastery of flavor and cooking techniques
3. The personality of the chef represented in the dining experience
4. Value for money
5. Consistency between inspectors’ visits
With as rigiours as the selection can be, the ultimate goal for highly trained chefs is to obtain a Michelin star. And in the case that a chef looses a star…tears may be shed i.e. Gordan Ramsey.
How does one become a Michelin Inspector?
The position requires a minimum of five years of relevant experience, being plugged into the latest restaurant openings, closings and updates, and “extensive international knowledge of ingredients, culinary techniques, cuisines and culinary fundamentals.”
Job requirements consist of inspecting a minimum of 275 restaurants a year so you will be traveling most weeks in a month. The company also offers fitness membership reimbursement to balance the amount of food that is consumed.
Are Michelin Star Restaurants Expensive?
With the hard-to-come-by rating, most people assume that Michelin Star Restaurants are all expensive. In reality there are several that are reasonably priced. If you do a quick Google search on the most and least expensive Michelin Star restaurants, you’ll find plenty of lists to accommodate your budget.
To find out where there are Michelin Starred restaurants near you, check out the MichelinGuide.com