Chefs across the globe yearn for a Michelin Star on their door. Guests travel thousands of miles just to sit at one of these lauded tables (and sometimes spend a load of cash too!). What’s the big deal about a Michelin-starred restaurant?
Here are the basics:
According to the Michelin Guide: Michelin stars are given out on a scale of 1 to 3 stars. The top establishments in the world qualifying to earn one Michelin star restaurant need to be “a very good restaurant in this category“. For two stars it needs to be “excellent cooking worth a detour“. For three stars a restaurant must serve “exceptional cuisine worth a special journey“.
The Michelin star system ranging from 0 to 3 began in 1931 but the guide itself has a much longer history. Originally intended to encourage more travel around France by car. The free guide listed gas stations and hotels and their locations. Therefore creating a need to, hopefully, buy more Michelin tires.
By 1920 however, the cost went up to seven francs and included restaurants as well as hotels. (For more tips about finding great places to eat on vacation check out this article.)
Since that time, the Michelin guide has expanded way past France and into 30 other territories. The inspectors are food and beverage professionals who visit each establishment multiple times anonymously.
Being granted a Michelin star sends a little-known fabulous restaurant into the stratosphere of media hype, waiting lists, and increased sales. It’s been noted that a restaurant’s sales can increase 30 to 50% after being awarded a Michelin star.
Of course with notoriety also comes more scrutiny as the restaurants will continue to be evaluated each year.
Top chefs can never rest on their laurels. There are always young bucks coming up through the ranks and there is the possibility of losing your star.
How does this happen? Well, the chef and crew fall down in one of the five criteria that the inspectors use to evaluate the restaurant.
It isn’t just one inspector who dines in the restaurant that the chefs have to impress. Multiple inspectors will dine at the same restaurant then compare notes to decide if a star is warranted. This goes back to the theme of consistency. No matter when the inspector dines at the establishment, the food, the service, and the quality must always be top-notch. While at the same time, consistent with the findings of other inspectors.
The commonalities between all of these Michelin-starred restaurants are a commitment to quality in every part of the dining experience. From the moment you step out of your Uber until you collect your coat to leave. Your overall experience should be exquisite and professional.
In addition, the restaurant must be unique, able to stand out from all other restaurants. Whether it’s a type of cuisine, an amazing wine list, or just a certain way the chef prepares the food. Originality is key to getting one of these stars.
Most importantly, there must be outstanding service. Great restaurants create an in-house guidebook as well as, extensive and ongoing training as a way to ensure impeccable service to their guests. The service must be consistent and on point for every diner, at every meal.
So, is it worth your time and money to visit a Michelin-starred restaurant? In a word, yes. Believe it or not, not all starred restaurants are extremely expensive. Another option is to have lunch instead of dinner (my usual tactic). Midday meals are generally less expensive. I have also found that the service can be even better at lunchtime. Often, the overall vibe of the restaurant is more relaxed.
But the real reason to dine at a starred restaurant is to watch pure magic and artistry unfold before your eyes. Like watching a prima ballerina or a master magician, these chefs surprise and delight you course after course. Not only are these craftsmen at the top of their cooking game, but they are also like captains of a luxury yacht. Steering you through a culinary journey while keeping their crew on task and on point. The singular goal of each member of the chef’s team is to make sure that YOUR experience is nothing short of spectacular.
Where else can you get that? So treat yourself, be a king or queen for the span of a meal. Art, theater, and tasty food combine around the table while the outside world simply fades away.
I would love to help you navigate your way to the perfect Michelin-Starred restaurant. Finding the best match for both your palette and your pocketbook.
It’s so fun to plan an entire vacation around one restaurant reservation. Are you ready for a meal of a lifetime? Let’s get started. You can set up a complimentary trip consult call here. Or just send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Gourmet Adventures Travel Co., I craft culinary getaways for travelers who love to eat well and yearn to truly savor the authentic side of their destination. From a river cruise through Provencal wine country to a journey through the heady spice markets and medinas of Morocco, you'll taste your way through the world's most enchanting landscapes.