How Do Chefs Get Michelin Stars: Secrets To Success Finally Revealed


For many chefs around the globe, achieving the Michelin Star would be a dream come true. Earning a Michelin Star isn’t as easy as it sounds and let’s face it, it doesn’t sound easy at all!

There are many things that need to be excellent if even considered for a nominee for the Michelin Star and the competition is extremely rough in those spaces. There have been cases as well that earning a Michelin Star has come out of the corner without any expectance which is quite amazing. Also, Michelin stars are earned only by certain types of restaurants, usually Fine Dining.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through what does it take for a chef to get a Michelin star, but also we will dive into some other subject that floats around the subject of Michelin stars.

In short, in order for a chef to earn a Michelin star, dishes needs to be excellent, culinary arts needs to be mastered, taste must be exquisite, everything needs to proceed without obstacles and finally, all the aspects need to be excellent every time, therefore consistency is the key.

Before going more in-depth on how can it be achieved, we need to first understand what is a Michelin star in the first place.

What is a Michelin Star

The story about Michelin stars is quite interesting. The story begins in the early 1900s where the Michelin tire company released their recommendation guide about the nearby restaurants and hotels so that people would drive more. Why did the Michelin tire company want that? If people drove more then the tires would wear out more quickly and people would need more tires from the Michelin company. So the birth of the praised and respected Michelin star didn’t have anything to do with chefs whatsoever. When time went by and Michelin’s restaurant guide grew more popular and ultimately evolved to the ultimate recognition that everybody knows today.

Michelin stars are given from one to three stars and in order to get even one, the restaurant need’s to be at the top of the world. In order to earn one star, the restaurant needs to be ”a very good restaurant in its category, for two the restaurant needs to be considered ”excellent cooking worth a detour” and in order to earn three stars, the restaurant must have ”exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”. These descriptions sound impossible but it can be done as many have.

Let’s compare the huge difference between earning one Michelin star when compared to earning three. There are more than 2000 Michelin star restaurants in the world but only a little over a hundred three Michelin star restaurants. The difference is big, to say the least, and earning three Michelin stars is an honor beyond dreams.

Earning a Michelin star can and will raise the restaurant to another level because people make special journeys only so they can dine in those restaurants. In addition to the great recognition, honor, and glory, a Michelin star will bring out more customers, therefore the business will improve as well.

Who gives Michelin Stars to restaurants

Michelin stars are given to the restaurants by Michelin guide inspectors. The trick here is that they are anonymous and the restaurant will never know when they are reviewed. That is the beauty of the Michelin star because the restaurant needs to have consistent excellence in order to get the star.

Michelin guide inspectors have certain values that they run by in order to give honest and fair opinions. Let’s see what those values are

In addition to Anonymity as discussed above, Michelin guide inspectors are also Independent. They are employees of the Michelin group and for them only so there aren’t any strings being pulled in any direction. Expertise is the third value that the inspectors have. They are professionals with many years of experience in the food and hotel industry. Michelin guide inspectors are also Reliable. The stars aren’t ever given by one inspector, the stars will be given by many inspectors that dine in the establishment multiple times in the course of months in order to assure that the quality is always the same. Lastly, Passion is something that the inspectors need to have because the work includes incredibly strict reviews that are written with passion. Most of the inspectors have worked in a restaurant.

Michelin star criteria

There are 5 criteria that a restaurant must have and everything needs to be high-quality in order to get the Michelin star, the following criteria are:

  • Quality of products
  • Mastery of flavor and cooking techniques
  • The personality of the chef represented in the dining experience
  • Harmony of the flavors
  • Consistency between inspector’s visits

How do chefs get Michelin stars

Now that we understand what the Michelin star is, who gives them, and what are the criteria we can finally understand how do chefs actually earn one. The first thing that will rule out of getting a Michelin star is that the restaurant needs to be in a country where the Michelin group operates. After that, it can be achieved!

In order for chefs to get Michelin stars, they need to have passion and creativity for their work. This is the core that if it’s in order, the route to earning a Michelin star is set, the only thing left to do is to walk the route. Easier said than done.

When running a restaurant and the criteria mentioned earlier is in order, it needs to be maintained. Consistency is what the Michelin inspectors are looking at so if they come to dine and everything is excellent at the first time, but in the second time two months later quality is dropped, it’s goodbye to the Michelin star at least for a while.

There isn’t a specific guide on how to earn a Michelin star but the essentials are clear. Chefs need to use their passion and creativity towards food to create a reputation for themselves meeting Michelin’s criteria. When the chefs have a reputation, the Michelin inspectors will eventually come to the restaurant to review the operation. Keep up the criteria and be consistent and the Michelin star will be earned.

How long does it take to become a Michelin Star chef

The Michelin guide is a prestigious award, but it isn’t easy to get. It takes accurate work and dedication from the chefs in order to make their restaurant worthy of being included in this esteemed ranking. After starting the restaurant or greatly increasing quality, restaurants can expect an inspection by one of the inspectors within 12 months followed by 3-10 visits over 2-3 years before finally receiving designation as “Michelin Rated.”

Are Michelin Stars given to restaurants or chefs

This is an extremely common question with a hard to understand the answer. I’ll walk you through it. Michelin stars are given to the restaurants, however, after a chef has earned a Michelin star, they can call themselves ”Michelin star” chefs. If the chef that has earned the Michelin star leaves the restaurant, the star doesn’t leave with the chef.

The tricky part here is that when a restaurant earns the star, there will be a yearly inspection to see if the restaurant is still worthy of the star. Also, the reputation of earning a Michelin star will always be with the chef where ever they go.

How do you lose a Michelin star

Michelin stars aren’t permanent and after earning the Michelin star, there will be yearly inspections to the restaurant to see if the restaurant holds the same quality as in the previous year. If the Michelin inspectors determine that the restaurant’s quality has fallen, the star will be lost.

Conclusion

Getting a Michelin star sure isn’t easy but if that is your dream, do not let that discourage you. There are currently over 2000 restaurants in the world with a Michelin star so it certainly can be done if passion and creativity is held.

I always love to talk about Michelin stars because of the extraordinary history from a simple guide with the purpose of wearing out tires to the most valued honor that a restaurant can get.

Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS and while I love working in a busy restaurant, I also enjoy more peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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