Beyond Stars: What Does It Mean To Be A Michelin-Recommended Restaurant?

Michael Ellis, international director of the MICHELIN guides, shares what it means to be a restaurant listed in the prestigious red book.
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Chefs and restaurateurs hold their breaths each year when a new red guide is launched. Will this be the year their restaurant gets a star? And if they already have a precious star (or two), are they in the line-up to receive another?

With a history that spans over a century, the MICHELIN guide is now globally renowned for its revered star-system. Anonymous inspectors of different nationalities assess restaurants around the world each year based on five criteria: quality of the ingredients used, mastery of flavour and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef in his cuisine, value for money and consistency between visits.

SEE ALSO: Read about the Michelin inspection process in detail
While a rating of one to three stars is most coveted by chefs and restaurateurs alike, what usually remains under the radar are the restaurants listed in the red book but have not been awarded a star. These places are, in fact, judged by the same five criteria used for starred and Bib Gourmand restaurants, and are recognised as establishments serving good food.

“A restaurant in the selection without a star or Bib Gourmand is the sign of a chef using quality ingredients that are well cooked; simply a good meal,” says Michael Ellis, International Director of the MICHELIN guides.
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Michael Ellis at the 2016 MICHELIN guide Singapore launch
Michael Ellis at the 2016 MICHELIN guide Singapore launch
“It means that the inspectors have found the food to be above average, but not quite at star or Bib level. One star (or more) indicates a truly gastronomic experience,” he continues.

Similarly, in Singapore, hawker stalls might be listed in the guide but without a Bib Gourmand — an award created by Michelin in 1997 to be given out to establishments that serve good food at moderate prices. “A hawker stall in the selection but without a Bib indicates good food at a good price; the inspectors consider a hawker stall with a Bib to feature particularly good value for money,” shares Ellis.


SEE ALSO: Check out our stories on Bib Gourmand awarded hawkers here.

So, can a listed restaurant go on to receive a star the next year? “Absolutely,” states Ellis. “Every year around the world, restaurants go from being in the selection without a distinction to earning a star.”
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