“This Guide was born with the century, and it will last every bit as long“, said the Michelin brothers, André and Edouard, in the preface to the first ever Michelin Guide, published in 1900. 118 years later, the Michelin Guide remains THE reference for the restaurant and hotel world!
Origin of Michelin Star
The concept of Michelin star rating was founded by the Michelin Brothers, André and Edouard in the year 1900. Interestingly it was a marketing technique to promote the usage of cars among the people of France, which today is the most coveted rating for restaurants and chefs across 23 countries!
Michelin brothers are originally engineers, who manufactured tires. In 1900 the car was a luxury that was popular with the elite. Hence the brothers thought that a guidebook offering information about hotels, restaurants, and roadways would lead people to drive more—and buy more Michelin tires. Thus the Michelin Guide came into existence. Today, Michelin continues to authoritatively judge restaurants in order to promote the company name.
A guidance at the time when there was no Google Maps!
First published in 1900, the guide’s 399 pages contained all the information drivers needed to “go touring” through French towns and cities. Only restaurants attached to hotels were included, and they were listed rather than carefully rated. Information about installing and caring for Michelin tires occupied the first 33 pages, and ads for car part manufacturers occupied another 50 pages. Maps and basic information about dozens of towns made up the bulk of the guide. For drivers, that information was essential. Gas stations did not yet exist, so drivers needed to know which pharmacies sold gasoline in several-litre containers. Motorists needed the timetables that listed when the sunset during the year because highways did not yet have lights. Only a fraction of auto repair shops stayed open all year, which made it crucial to know which closed at the end of summer. Details like this distinguished the Michelin Guide from the tour books of the time, which assumed that people travelled by rail.
Contemporary Michelin guide
Michelin guide today normally refers to the annually published Michelin Red Guide, the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide, which awards Michelin stars for excellence to a select few establishments. The acquisition or loss of a star can have dramatic effects on the success of a restaurant.
What does Michelin Stars Mean?
One star: ‘a very good restaurant in its own category’
Two stars: ‘excellent cooking, worth a detour’
Three stars: ‘exceptional cuisine, worth a special trip’
Does India have Michelin rated restaurants?
Michelin doesn’t rate restaurants in India. However, there are Indian chefs who have Michelin rated restaurants outside India. Chef. Atul Kochhar’s restaurant “Benares”, in London has been awarded twice; Chef. Vikas Khanna’s “Junoon” in New York & Chef. Mural Manjunath’s “Song of India” in Singapore is Michelin Star acclaimed.
Today Michelin star has gained significance in India since people are well travelled and the demand for fine dine experience has increased among the Indian customers. Various Michelin star acclaimed restaurants have opened their branch in India as a result.
Top Michelin Rated Chefs:
Joël Robuchon– 28 Michelin Stars
Alain Ducasse– 21 Michelin Stars
Gordon Ramsay– 16 Michelin Stars