What is the Michelin Star vs Non Michelin Star Experience
I have had my share of experiencing all types of restaurant settings, but there is something incomparable about a Michelin star restaurant. If you watch a good cooking show, you always hear about Michelin star restaurants or Michelin star chefs, but what exactly does that mean? Maybe this is something you thought about or it might just be some interesting information to add to your general knowledge. Who knows, it might come up in a trivial question and you can show off a bit.
The Michelin star rating started way back in 1900 by the Michelin tire company in a way to encourage people to take more road trips around France. It was only in 1926 when they started sending out anonymous reviewers to try certain restaurants. Today, Michelin has full-time reviewers, who generally should have a passion for food and wine with a great memory to recall the flavors and experiences. This is actually interesting because one would think that you just need to love food, but the reporting back on what you eat is the more important aspect. I suppose one cannot have too much wine at the restaurant then because the night might become a blur! Michelin only use the memorandum provided by their anonymous reviewers to base their rating on and does not include consumer reviews in their decision.
We see it happen in movies like Babette’s Feast or Like Water for Chocolate where the chef has a small nervous breakdown when he hears someone’s thoughts about the food. This kind of surprise keeps restaurant owners and chefs on their toes. Most recently the French laundry was on the receiving end as a blistering review left famed Thomas Keller in a deep depression.
I felt like an anonymous reviewer when visiting the Michelin star restaurant, Cracco, not too long ago. You know the kind of treatment we assume celebrities receive? Yes, it felt like that and let me tell you, I would go back there again just to feel that validated.
It was a real treat to meet the people who made the evening so
The atmosphere, the food and the wine was amazing and enlightening. The staff was friendly and professional which makes for a good experience all round. In that moment I realised that every diner was treated well and seemed to be enjoying their evening as much as me and my friends were.
I had the opportunity to step into the kitchen and let me tell you, it was like a well-oiled machine. Everyone seemed to know what to do when and what is happening next. Clearly the head chef knew how to run a successful kitchen.
The sophisticated meals surprised everyone at my table because of the elegant plating. We knew we were at a Michelin star restaurant but the beauty of the meals still kind of takes you by surprise. I will definitely be using these techniques when I have my next dinner at home. You can clearly see that there is a lot of experience that goes into creating beautiful food art. Cracco whispered elegance, confidence and sophistication on a plate.
If you want to experience one of the best Michelin restaurants in Milan, my friends and I had a great time at Cracco. You can of course go to a non-Michelin star restaurant and have just as good a time. At the end of the day, it is all about the experience and if any restaurant makes it a good one, it will be in your memory bank for a long time. Food is a beautiful thing and we should become adventurous by trying new restaurants and new ingredients.
How are Michelin Stars awarded?
Michelin will award stars ranging from 0 to 3, based on the feedback from the anonymous reviews. The general categories the reviewers will focus on are consistency of the meals, technique used in preparing food and the quality. Interior décor and table setting is not something the reviewers will focus on. One would think that something like décor would be in the rating, but I suppose every restaurant wants a different feel and that is not up to the reviewer to decide. I think this is pretty awesome of Michelin to respect this idea. Food is everything and you could be having the best meal of your life out of a food truck. If you really think about it, the décor and table setting isn’t that important and Michelin recognised this.
So as we can see the complete focus of Michelin is the food and the stars are awarded as follows:
- 1 Star – This is a good restaurant to stop at on your journey. The food will be high quality and prepared in a consistent manner.
- 2 Stars – A restaurant earning 2 stars are worth a detour and promises excellent food skilfully crafted meals.
- 3 Stars – A 3 stars restaurant is worth taking a special trip. You can expect superb food and distinctive dishes using only the finest ingredients.
If you are passionate about food and would love to plan your upcoming holiday around the best Michelin restaurants, here is where you should go. These are the 18 cities with the most Michelin stars in the world.
- Madrid, Spain – 21 Stars
- Rome, Italy – 21 Stars
- Nara, Japan – 21 Stars
- Antwerp, Belgium – 21 Stars
- Milan, Italy – 22 Stars
- Macau, China – 24 Stars
- Berlin, Germany – 26 Stars
- Barcelona, Spain – 30 Stars
- Brussels, Belgium – 31 Stars
- Chicago, USA – 35 Stars
- San Francisco, USA – 46 Stars
- London, UK – 79 Stars
- Hong Kong, China – 87 Stars
- New York City, USA – 99 Stars
- Osaka, Japan – 117 Stars
- Paris, France – 134 Stars
- Kyoto, Japan – 135 Stars
- Tokyo, Japan – 304 Stars
I am sure many of us would like to take a trip to Tokyo, Japan based on this list, but what if you cannot afford a trip right now? How does one still enjoy a Michelin experience when you are on a budget? You can turn your own home into a Michelin restaurant, seeing as the most important factor is the food. Here are some tips you can use today to have a Michelin experience at home.
- Always make sure your knives are sharp.
- Be sure to taste that your food is seasoned correctly.
- Fresh ingredients trump expensive ingredients any day.
- Add a knob of butter to bring out the flavor in most dishes.
- Use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs.
- Cook seasonally
- Make sure your oven it hot before placing your food in.
- Work on your plating. We also eat with our eyes so presentation is important.
There are many great restaurants that do not have a Michelin star rating and it does not mean that their food is bad. I have had great experiences at both Michelin star and non-Michelin star restaurants. Everybody is different, but for me, a great atmosphere, good food, perfectly matched wine and fantastic company is what makes for a great restaurant experience. You can easily create beautiful meals at home and enjoy with your family and friends.
Invite some of you favorite people over for a dinner and try to recreate a Michelin star restaurant in your own home. It could be quite interesting and exciting if you think about it. You become the head chef in that moment and all decisions are left up to you. Get into your character and go full out. You can even try and look up some plating skills and try it. Also don’t be afraid of dining by yourself and doing the exact same thing. You could try a new recipe and try and replicate the plating on the recipe picture. Who wouldn’t love to dine in style within the comfort of your own home?