While watching the reality shows Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen and The F-Word, I have heard the chefs mention a “Michelin Star.” When I hear the word “Michelin” I think of tires, not restaurants, so I was a bit confused at first. But since these were food shows, I had an idea that this was some sort of award or recognition for a chef or restaurant, but being unsure I looked into it further.
It started with Andre and Edouard Michelin who had a tire manufacturing company in the 1900’s (we know it today as The Michelin Tire Company). To promote their company they decided to publish what they called “The Michelin Guide.” They purpose of the guide was to help travelers maintain their cars, find a decent place to sleep, and eat well while on the road away from home. In 1926, the guide introduced a star beside a restaurants name to denote good cooking. In the early 1930’s, two and three stars were added, thus the Michelin Stars were born. Each year the guide awards one to three stars to a small number of restaurants of outstanding quality. One star denotes a very good restaurant in its category – it’s worth a short trip; two stars mean excellent cooking – it’s worth a slight detour; and plan to go out of your way to visit a restaurant with three stars because they have exceptional cuisine – it’s worth a special journey. Michelin claims to revisit establishments on average once every eighteen months in order to keep ratings up to date.
AA Rosettes are another type of ranking given to restaurants, a mark awarded to fine restaurants by the British Automobile Association (AA). AA Inspectors annually award Rosettes to restaurants for the quality and service of their food and demonstrate mastery and excellence in their field.
The AA Rosette Criteria Defined
Chefs should have mastered basic techniques and be able to produce dishes of sound quality and precision of flavors, using good, fresh ingredients.
Innovation, greater technical skill and more consistency and judgment in combining and balancing ingredients are all needed at this level.
This award takes a restaurant into the big leagues. Expectations of the kitchen are high: exact technique, flair and imagination must come through in every dish, and balance and depth of flavor are all-important.
At this level not only should all technical skills be excellent but there should also be daring ideas, and the ideas must work. There is no room for disappointment. Flavors should be accurate and vibrant.
This is the supreme accolade awarded only when the cooking is at its peak. Flavors, combinations and textures show a faultless sense of balance, giving each dish an extra dimension.