The Michelin Guide - Its History and Importance

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

The Micheline GuidePhoto credit: Pixaby

 It seems we have been hearing a lot about the Michelin Guide recently. While this famous and coveted guide has been in place and in use since 1900, there are reasons why it is being talked about by restaurant owners globally and the reasons may not be what you expect. Before we talk about those reasons, let’s look back a bit at how this all got started.

No matter where you live, what you drive, or where you eat, you probably think of automobile tires when you hear the name Michelin. A great deal of money has been invested to make us associate the Michelin name with the Michelin Man. 

Michelin Man 

Photo credit: pinterest 

In 1889, the brothers André and Edouard Michelin founded their tire company (makers of Michelin tires) in France. In 1900, they began publishing a free guide for drivers to use that included useful information for travelers, such as maps, basic mechanics, places to take a rest,  establishments for eating and relaxing. The goal of the publication was to get people to drive their cars more and in doing so, wear out their tires.

Evolution of the Michelin Stars

A group of inspectors was hired to immerse themselves into searching for the best places to eat. This was listed on the back of the guide. This led to the star rating that we know about and that restaurants around the globe strive for today. This rating system began in 1926 but was not introduced as the Michelin Star system until 1931. Today this star rating tells us which country has the best restaurants and which restaurants in a city are the very best. Being a 3-Star holder is the highest honor a restaurant can achieve and a chef who reaches such honors is priceless.


In the world of fine dining, there is nothing more important than the Michelin Stars. This over 100-year old, world-acclaimed guide is the world authority. The experts that make these decisions are unquestionable.

Winners of the Michelin Stars can expect more customers. In large cities where there are a lot of people and a lot of travelers such as London, Tokyo, New York, Los Vegas, and others, you may see a 100% increase in business. Winners can also expect a higher level of quality in the applicants that come to them for employment. The best chefs, servers, and associates want to work in the best restaurants. They want to work where their art is appreciated and their pay reflects that.

 Even if you only earn your first star, you can expect around a 20% increase in business and a 40% rise if you earn your second.

What do the other symbols mean that are given out?

The Michelin Star group gives out awards other than stars. Here are what they mean:

      Bib Gourmand - awarded based on good food at moderate prices. In the majority of European countries the limit for a set menu is set at €35.

      Michelin plate - awarded to restaurants that boast good quality cooking, but are yet to receive stars or the Bib Gourmand, even though they deserve to be mentioned in the guide

      Forks & Spoons

      One fork and spoon symbol: quite comfortable.

      Two fork and spoon symbols: comfortable.

      Three fork and spoon symbols: very comfortable.

      Four fork and spoon symbols: top-class comfort.

      Five fork and spoon symbols: luxury in the traditional style

Big News Of 2021

The past year has been a nightmare. It has closed more than one restaurant and the challenges of staying open have been difficult so the challenges of staying open, being able to open at all, and maintaining a quality reputation has to be difficult for the best of the best. This was evident in the selection of the restaurants trying to hold their positions on the. More than one famous chef lost points in this year of COVID, restrictions, shortages, and issues with employees, customers, and shipments. For some, the hope of even opening for the judging was nerve-wracking.

In all of this chaos, not one, but two restaurants from the United Kingdom earned their 3-stars from the Michelin Guide. Hélène Darroze at The Connaught and Core by Clare Smyth were upgraded to three stars, making them just the sixth and seventh restaurants in Great Britain and Ireland to hold these awards.

 Excitement ran high and tears flowed in the celebrations (mostly virtual) and it was clear how much effort went into these ventures. During a challenging year when it was uncertain that the doors would be opened for the judging, every detail was scrutinized.

 Some people are saying that the world will change after the pandemic. Some are saying, we will have to scale back and economies will not accommodate luxuries like gourmet meals. But, as long as we have people who love their craft like these people do, I think not. During a pandemic they gave it all and won Three Michelin Stars. I believe there will always be a place for fine dining.







  1. This is really fascinating, Marie. Thanks for sharing it -- lots of research here. I'm sure those UK restaurants were over the moon with their Michelin rating! I love posts like this. (As for me, I don't see indoor restaurant dining in my future for a long time.)

    1. I love learning the history behind things like this Jeanie! xoxo PS - no restaurant dining in our future either, not for a long time to come I don't think! xoxo


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