The Michelin Star is, without a doubt, one of the most coveted awards in the culinary world. Many chefs aspire of leading their restaurant to Michelin Star status.
But before we talk about how this can happen, let me just iron out one little detail – chefs cannot get Michelin stars. Rather, the award or “star” is something that is attached to a restaurant.
Then again, the chef who made it possible for the establishment to earn this designation will forever be able to showcase this achievement in their curriculum vitae.
Getting a Michelin star is no small feat. This elusive star has only been awarded to 2,744 restaurants worldwide. As of this writing, only 142 restaurants have received 3 stars. This not only shows just how impressive the award is, but how difficult it can be for a restaurant to be given the Michelin Star nod.
If you, or someone you know, dreams of leading a restaurant to Michelin stardom, let’s talk about what needs to be done to get closer to achieving this goal. There are no guarantees, of course, as thousands of restaurants are vying for the same award and very few get tested every year. But hey, it’s always worth a shot, right?
What is a Michelin Star?
The Michelin Guide started out in 1889 by French tire company Michelin and it was designed to help motorists use their cars more often so as to boost tire sales. It was a small red guide filled with useful information like maps, information on how a tire should be changed, the nearest gas stations, and others.
In the 1920s, the guide already included a list of Parisian hotels and restaurants. The Michelin brothers also hired mystery diners – or restaurant inspectors, to dine in restaurants and then review their experience anonymously. By 1926, the guide began giving out award stars to fine dining establishments, starting with just a single star. In 1931, a hierarchy of 0, 1, 2 and 3 stars was introduced and published.
The Michelin inspectors evaluate a restaurant based on the following criteria:
- Product quality
- Cooking techniques
- Mastery and harmony of flavor
- Chef’s personality injected in the dining experience
- Service quality
When a restaurant receives a Michelin star, it often garners them a lot of media attention. It also means they will get lots of reservations.
How to Become A Michelin Star Chef
There’s no surefire way to get a Michelin star. In fact, there’s even no guarantee your restaurant will get noticed by the inspectors themselves, unless you’re a celebrity chef or your restaurant has become an online sensation then perhaps the odds will be in your favor. In any case, use these steps as a guide to help you get closer to your dream.
1. Get proper culinary education.
Getting education in a culinary school is not a prerequisite to becoming a chef but it does help you develop the necessary skills and experience.
2. Spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
After getting a degree or certificate in culinary school, it’s time to practice what you’ve learned. In school you’ll learn the skills. But it’s by working many hours in the kitchen that you will learn to master these skills. You can apply in kitchens like Peter Luger to get some experience.
3. Find a mentor.
For most new chefs or aspiring chefs, their mentor is often a reputable chef in a restaurant who will guide them in becoming better at what they do. They will make you accountable for your work, good or bad.
4. Gain more experience.
If possible, work in prestigious restaurants so you will learn how to operate the top kitchens and refine your own skill sets and build a name for yourself.
5. Become an executive chef.
If you want your restaurant to get a chance at receiving a Michelin star, you need to become an executive chef in a city that tends to get visited frequently by Michelin Inspectors. Keep on refining and improving your skills in the kitchen and who knows, you might just fulfill your dream.
Learn more about how to get a Michelin star here: