The Michelin guide makes and breaks the reputations of restaurants. But on what criterion and with what method?
Since 1904, the ritual is immutable: the Michelin guide awards its famous stars every winter to the greatest chefs. The "red guide" is a reference in France, but also in New York, England, Germany or Japan. When the verdict falls in February, it is always accompanied by lot of joys, disappointments and small (or big) polemics. For chefs, obtaining a michelin star is a very important thing. The 503 "one star" restaurants in France and the Principality of Monaco drain a local clientele that until now has not crossed the threshold of their door. When an establishment picks up a second macaroon (there are 80 in France), it becomes the goal of a trip, the subject of a weekend, the opportunity to afford an exceptional moment. The 26 three-star restaurants have immediate international renown and are guaranteed to fill their rooms almost at any price ...
How to win a Michelin star?
Who are the Michelin inspectors?
In the opinion of professionals, it is almost impossible to spot them. However, they are the ones who judge the restaurants and select the rare pearls that will have their head in the stars ... The inspectors of the Michelin guide go anonymously in the establishments to gauge the places and the proposed cuisine. Mostly from the hotel and restaurant sector, there are many to visit the institutions so that their judgment is as objective as possible.
What are their criteria?
First, Michelin inspectors are very attentive to the quality, freshness and authenticity of the products. Of course, the respect of hygiene is also taken into account. Then, they focus on distinguishing dishes with originality. The way vegetables, meats and fish are cooked is scrutinized. They seek above all the audacity and creativity of a dish or the personality of a kitchen. The decoration of the room, the comfort, the service and the clarity of the menu (are the advertised dishes understandable?) Are also taken into account. The price-quality ratio is also studied, as is the coherence of the menus and the complementarity between the dishes.
How do they render their verdicts?
Regularly, inspectors and directors of the Michelin guide find themselves in "star sessions". There, they confront their notes and their opinions in order to agree on a common verdict. In case of doubt or conflicting opinions, a third party will visit the restaurant for the last time to refine the final score and report. The lucky ones receive a few days before the publication of the "red guide" a telephone call announcing good (or bad) news. What to switch many careers!
How to book with ease?
This is not a scoop: to book a starred restaurant, you must be patient. Yet, a little tip can save you a lot of time! American Express offers holders of the Platinum Card to reserve a table for the evening. This service, Fine Dining, works equally well for renowned restaurants in Paris as well as for the most prestigious establishments in the provinces and abroad. To get a table the same evening, just call before 10 am the concierge of AmEx and the biggest tables will have no secret for you!