What it means to get a Michelin Star?

By Shiva Neupane (Melbourne, Australia)

Not many will be able to comprehend what the “Michelin star” really stands for. It is more than what it actually says. The “Michelin star” concept has not only been shaping our view of the culinary world but also, more importantly, defining the meticulous and lavish labour of love that goes into heavenly cooking skills. There are only handful chefs in the world who have the unmatched skills and mastery over what they cook.

The art of cooking has become the culinary Holy Grail for the aspiring chefs across the world. A century or so ago, two brothers, Édouard Michelin and André Michelin had started a rubber factory in what is known as Clermont-Ferrand in France.

It is said that Michelin wanted to sell more tyres and one of the prudent ways to sell more tyres was to get people drive more. Therefore, what Michelin did was they created the Michelin guide in 1889 in France. The first copies of the Michelin guidebooks were freely distributed to the motorists.

This guide was very informative for the motorists because it provided them the wealth of information such as maps, important locations of hotels, the mechanics, and instructions on tyre repair and replacement.

It is really interesting to know the reason why André Michelin decided to put a price on the copies of Michelin Guide was because he noticed that the copies of the guide being misused like a piece of trash.

Therefore, he started to charge a price for the copies of guide as when he realized a merchant had used Michelin guide to support his workbench in lieu of piece of wood or any other tad for that matter. Michelin was totally convinced by what we may call the common sense principle that people by nature, would not attach importance to any freely given items and therefore the concept for charging a price for the guide was initiated. The restaurant listings in the Michelin guide attracted people’s attention. This was the turning point the Michelin guide did not just stick to information related to Motors, petrol stations, and so on but more surprisingly it marked a reputational culinary hallmark on the hospitality landscape.

The two brothers Édouard Michelin and André Michelin hired the food critics and food inspectors and had them visit the restaurants incognito.  And the concept of giving Michelin Star to the chefs and Restaurants across Europe and subsequently around the world had begun.

The Michelin has up to three stars. One star marks a very good restaurant, two stars indicates a restaurant has excellent cooking that is worth a detour and finally three stars shows the restaurant with an exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey. This is exactly how Michelin star works when figuring out the level of culinary excellence on the part of chefs and the restaurants across the globe.

Mr. Shiva Neupane, is the author of “Falang English Dictionary”, “In the Pursuit of Utopian Life in Australia”, “My Waves”  “The Elixir of My Voice” and “Falang Food Dictionary”. His articles have been appeared in the Australian mainstream newspaper “THE AGE”. He regularly contributes articles for the scores of media outlets nationally and internationally.  He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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