Oct 18, 2022

The original story behind Michelin stars

So what is a Michelin star?

A Michelin star represents the best of the best in the restaurant world. Actors strive for an Oscar and the world’s best chefs strive for a Michelin star. It is the ultimate accolade when it comes to food excellence and if you are looking for the best meal of your life then the Michelin Guide is certainly where you’ll find it. 

How did it start?

 The Michelin Guide has been around since 1889 when brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin, who founded the world-famous tyre company created a small red guide of maps, tips on how to change a tyre, where to stay, where to eat and where to find petrol. The aim of this free guide was to encourage more driving on the roads so that they could sell more tyres!

The guide’s restaurant influence became so huge that they decided to recruit a team of mystery diners that would anonymously dine at restaurants and rank them with a star if they were impressed. That was back in 1926 and ten years later, the three star criteria was introduced. Today it has become one of the most competitive international guides of its kind and it is now recognised and celebrated worldwide.

What does each star mean?

One Michelin star signifies ‘high quality cooking, worth a stop’, two Michelin stars denote ‘excellent cooking, worth a detour’ and three stars promises ‘exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey’. Chefs that receive a third star are at the peak of their profession, the true artists of the culinary world. Expect to be blown away!

How do restaurants gets a star?

 Michelin critics, aka “Inspectors” travel the world anonymously rating restaurants looking for the X-factor. The inspectors visit several times over the year to ensure consistently good food throughout the seasons. They look for the highest quality ingredients, a perfect harmony of flavours, exceptional technique, a unique personality, and consistency. 

To become a Michelin inspector, you must pass official Michelin Guide training in France and have an extensive background in the culinary arts. Many are former chefs. 

You might think that Michelin stars are only given to very formal restaurants, but the list is now full of an eclectic mix of styles and cuisines. Some are more innovative, some more traditional, some casual, some formal. There really is no secret formula, it’s all about exceptional food. And it means there is something for everyone. 

Check out some of our favourite Michelin star restaurants worth travelling for:
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (2 stars)

With a mouth-watering menu full of attention grabbing dishes that you’ll be talking about for years to come, Dinner has rightly earned its position on the World's 50 Best list and is definitely worth a visit whilst in the UK. 

Ossiano, Dubai (1 star)

It is the ultimate immersive experience, at the at the height of sophistication. Taste the best produce from around the world and let the food and location transport you into an underwater universe. 

KO, New York (2 stars)

You may have seen chef David Chang on Netflix show Ugly Delicious. This is his flagship New York restaurant with bags of personality that never fails to impress. Expect to dine to a great music soundtrack that you’ll want to take home, and experience the most inventive menu (without the cliché white table cloths and stuffiness). 

Le Pré Catelan, Paris (3 stars)

Set within the Bois de Boulogne park this classical fine dining has perfected flavours and precision in this perfect dining experience. Ignite the senses with exciting French dining at the highest level.  

Narisawa, Tokyo (2 stars)

Narisawa’s passion for the environment is reflected in his dishes, designed to mirror the Japanese seasons with the freshest Japanese ingredients. His zero waste attitude and intimate relationship with local fisherman earned him the World’s Sustainable Restaurant Award in 2013.