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By
Kali Mireva

Michelin Inspection Process: What You Should Know About It

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Earning a Michelin Star is a great honor and recognition in the hospitality industry. Every restaurant owner wants to get a Michelin Star or possibly three of them.  But to be featured in the Michelin Star Guide, you need to accomplish a lot. A Star is given only to restaurants offering impeccable cuisine that is worth the trip. 

We have already shared a lot of information regarding famous Michelin Star chefs, how you can lose a Michelin Star, and even what is the Michelin rating criteria. With the information from our useful article, you will be able to set your restaurant business on the path to success.  

What we haven’t discussed in detail, however, is the Michelin inspection process. Although it’s kept a secret for the most part, there are still some things we know about and we believe you should know them too. Knowing how your restaurant will be evaluated, you can better prepare for the possible visit of the Michelin inspectors. 

If this topic is interesting to you, let’s dive deep into the Michelin inspection process together!

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Who Are the Michelin Inspectors?

The Michelin inspectors are anonymous individuals who have studied in the best hospitality schools in the world. They are widely traveled and have worked and lived in many countries all over the world. The inspectors are responsible for rating over 40,000 hotels and restaurants in more than 24 different countries. 

They probably have the most envied job in the world but this doesn’t mean the Michelin inspection process is easy. The inspectors are full-time employees of the Michelin Group. They regularly dine out so they can gather recommendations for hotels and restaurants. This is how the Michelin Star Guide is built. 

Key Takeaway: The Michelin inspection process is conducted by anonymous individuals who are experts in the hospitality and catering industry. They evaluate the food you are serving at your restaurant and nothing else. Consistency and high-quality ingredients, as well as culinary mastery are crucial if you want to earn a Michelin Star. 

What Are the Assessment Criteria for a Michelin Star?

Before we get into the Michelin inspection process it is important to be aware of the criteria. Here’s what is evaluated during the inspection process: 

  1. Quality of the products used in the dishes
  2. Mastery of cooking techniques and flavors
  3. The chef and his or her cuisine
  4. Value for money customers receive
  5. Consistency of service

The Core Values of the Michelin Star Inspectors

If you want to know how it’s possible for the Michelin inspection process to not be biased, you need to know about the core value of the Michelin Group and their inspectors. Each inspector employed by the company sticks to the core values so they can provide true recommendations based on the food and service in a specific restaurant. 

  • Anonymity - Although the inspectors work for the Michelin Guide, they are consumers like everyone else above all. They test restaurants in complete anonymity to make sure they don’t receive any special treatment from the waiters or the kitchen staff.
  • Independence - The inspectors are always paying for their meals at the restaurants they are testing. This way they avoid getting any special treatment and being biased. 
  • Expertise - The Michelin inspection process is conducted by people who are true experts in the hospitality and catering businesses
  •  Reliability - The awards in the different categories are not given based on one person’s opinion. Stars are given based on a collective decision, which is made after a long process. 
  • Passion - All of the Michelin Guide inspectors are very passionate about great food.
  • Quality - Any restaurant can earn a Michelin Star as long as the food is truly of a high quality. 
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The Michelin Inspection Process: What Is Truly Important

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the Michelin inspection process, we need to make it clear that the inspectors are focusing only on the food on the plate in front of them. They are not evaluating the wine program like Wine Spectator’s Awards judges. The Michelin inspectors are also not giving awards for Best Chefs by region like the James Beard Awards. They are solely evaluating the food and the consistency of service.

This doesn’t mean you should not strive to build a top wine list for your restaurant and ensure you provide excellent customer service. Focusing on the design of the space is beneficial for the business in general but not when it comes to earning a Michelin Star. 

Visiting a Restaurant

The Michelin inspection process doesn’t include just one visit per restaurant. An inspector would visit a place several times during a year to validate the consistency. If a restaurant more has than one Star or is considered for additional Stars, more inspectors will visit. They come from other regions to give their unbiased opinion. 

Among the Michelin inspectors, there are some who specialize in Korean cuisine, for example. If a Korean restaurant is currently being evaluated, such a specialist will have to visit it before any final decision is made. 

Choosing a Meal

When visiting each restaurant, the inspector orders various meals. Choosing the food to try is important because the whole restaurant experience will be judged based on it. That’s why the inspector needs to answer a few questions for themselves before ordering. They are: 

  • Which menu items best represent what it is that makes the restaurant unique?
  • Which dishes are the best expression of the statement the chef is striving to make with their cuisine? 
  • Which items are an authentic representation of the type of cuisine?

Evaluation Time

The inspector is evaluating their meals based on the 5 key criteria already discussed. They submit their review and if the restaurant is considered for the Michelin Star Guide, an inspector will visit again in the future. If the review from the initial inspection is not good, the inspectors will move on to other establishments in the region. 

Final Decision

The Michelin Stars are awarded once a year. This is done at different times for each destination covered by the Michelin Guide. So based on where your restaurant is located, you can expect to get information about which establishments are featured during various times of the year. If you are included, you will be contacted to be informed about it. 

If that is the case, you need to prepare for the influx of customers you will most likely get once your restaurant’s name appears on the Michelin Star Guide. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Michelin Inspection Process

If you still have questions about the Michelin inspection process, we hope to answer a few of them below. 

How Many Michelin Stars Can a Restaurant Receive?

Michelin awards restaurants with one, two, or three stars based on their assessment. One star indicates a very good restaurant. Two stars signify excellent cuisine that's worth a detour. Three stars represent exceptional cuisine worth a special journey.

How Often Are Restaurants Re-Evaluated by Michelin Inspectors?

Michelin inspectors revisit restaurants regularly to ensure that the quality and standards are maintained. The frequency of visits may vary depending on factors such as the restaurant's reputation, consistency, and changes in the culinary scene.

What Is the Difference Between Michelin Stars and Other Culinary Awards?

Michelin stars are among the most prestigious accolades in the culinary world, recognized globally for their rigorous evaluation process and high standards. Unlike other awards, Michelin stars are awarded based on anonymous inspections by professional inspectors.

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