Earning a Michelin Star is a dream for many chefs and restaurant owners. It’s a prestigious award that shows others the culinary mastery and quality of food in a specific restaurant. A Star can boost a business and make it more profitable and well-known, which any restaurant manager would want.
However, earning a Michelin Star is not easy, and maintaining it can also pose challenges, even for the top 25 Michelin Star restaurants. If you are asking yourself “How do you lose a Michelin Star,” read our article on the topic. But if you are here with the question “How to earn a Michelin Star,” you have to keep on reading (see also: what is a Michelin Star).
In this article, we will unfold everything there is to know about earning the desired Michelin Star and even add a second and third one. Let’s jump right into it!
One, Two or Three Michelin Stars
Michelin Stars are awarded to restaurants serving outstanding cuisine. A restaurant can earn one, two, or three stars. One star means “a very good restaurant in this category,” while two means “excellent cooking, worth a detour”. If you wonder how to get three, you need to fit the criteria “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”
Once a certain amount of restaurants has been inspected in an area, the inspectors meet up. They discuss the restaurants they’ve inspected in a group session that could last days. The rating of each restaurant is debated until they come up with a decision on whether or not to award a Star. The number of Stars is also decided upon in these sessions, based on the criteria already mentioned.
In the end, the results are published in a country-specific Michelin Star Guide. You can also find restaurants with Michelin Stars online, on their website. Because of that, many of the restaurants that gain a Star have an influx of customers. People want to see what the hype is all about and will likely want to visit.
If you recently gained a Michelin Star or two or three, keep that in mind and try to plan ahead. You will probably need to hire some extra staff to be able to handle more customers. Organizing the inventory and improving processes is also a must, as it can save you a lot of time and mistakes.
Key Takeaway: More than just great cuisine is required for a second or third Michelin Star. The food needs to be worth the detour or the special journey for more than one Michelin Star.
History Behind the Michelin Star
The Michelin Star Guide was first invented by the famous tire company with the idea of encouraging motorists to explore France. By touring the country they would need to buy more tires, so it made perfect sense.
Michelin released their first guidebook with great restaurants and hotels to visit in France over 100 years ago. In 1920, the free guide was released as a paid one, costing seven francs. In it, you would find restaurants and hotels listed by category. The system of awarding zero to three stars, however, began in 1931.
Later on, the Michelin Guide expanded to three different continents and covered 30 different areas. Experienced food and beverage professionals visit restaurants anonymously and rate the quality of dishes, culinary mastery, and more, in order to find new places to add to the Michelin Guide.
How to Earn a Michelin Star
For different types of chefs and restaurants, the criteria are the same. They just may be ranked in a different category. Here’s what the anonymous reviewers are looking for:
- High-quality ingredients
- Mastery of the culinary techniques
- Chef’s personality showcased in the food
- Value for money
- Consistency of food and dining experience
In addition to these, your restaurant has to be located in one of the cities that are included in the guide. In the United States, the majority of Michelin Star restaurants are based in big cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
If there are other Michelin restaurants in your location, chances are that your restaurant is visited by Michelin reviewers too. However, even if there are no restaurants that have earned a Star rating, you still may be evaluated for the award. Unknowingly, of course.
For that reason, if you aspire to get this huge recognition, you should iron out not only the menu but the processes in your restaurant as well. Organizing inventory may be a hassle, but it’s worth the time and money investment. Tackling this task will improve the customer experience and can put your restaurant’s name out there. Which in turn may attract reviewers.
Food and Beverage Pairings
Although not officially mentioned as a requirement, beverages can play an important role in getting a Michelin Star. Great food and beverage pairings can boost customer satisfaction. A proper pairing will enhance the flavors of the dish, which will help you on your mission to get a Star.
Other than the classic wine and food pairing options, you should think about beer pairing and tea pairing options too. They are not typically combined with exquisite cuisine, but they are popular drinks that people from all over the world enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions about Earning a Michelin Star
Want to know how to earn a Michelin Star? This article should be helpful to you. But if you want shorter answers to the questions that interest you most, this section is for you.
Can a Restaurant Get More Than 1 Michelin Star?
Yes, a restaurant can get one, two, or three stars based on the quality of food they serve. Restaurants that earn a single Star are considered to be “a very good restaurant in this category.” Restaurants that earn two Stars have “excellent cooking, worth a detour” and the ones with three have “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”
You can get two or three Stars from the beginning. However, over time, if the dishes improve, when the restaurant gets re-evaluated, it can gain more.
Can a Restaurant Lose a Michelin Star?
Michelin Stars are not awarded forever and a restaurant can lose its Stars. Once a restaurant earns a Star or a few, it will get re-evaluated in a few months. A single evaluation won’t be enough to decide whether to remove a Star.
After a few evaluations done by the anonymous reviewers, they will decide whether the Star the restaurant has is still correct. If the quality of the food has dropped and the consistency is not there, they may decide to take away the Star.
Is the Michelin Star Awarded to the Chef or to the Restaurant?
It’s a common misconception that the chef gets the Michelin Star, while in reality the award is given to the restaurant. Once the chef leaves the restaurant, they don’t take the Star away from it. So actually, there's no such thing as Michelin Star chefs.
If the new head chef manages to keep the consistency and even improve the quality, they can keep or possibly gain another Star. In case they fail to do that, the Star may be removed from the restaurant after the next round of evaluations.