Michelin Stars: Behind the Legend

Have you ever wondered where does this Michelin Star fuss come from? Why is it called like the tire brand? Why there where only stars in Europe and suddenly in the US and abroad? Who gives the stars? Why is it so important?

Let’s endure a trip into the faraway lands of France in the 1900’s where two brothers who owned the largest tire brand then (Michelin) wanted to encourage the motorists who were not that many then, to explore France and thus have the necessity of buying more tires. They created a guide to know where to find places to eat, gas stations and hotels together with a set of tips for sightseeing.

110722-Kuperman-Michelin

If you think about it in such years without technology and having the first automated personal transportation this was such a treat! Such guide was handed out for free to their approximate 3000 buyers but years later when many more cars were sold and so tires they started to sell the guide.

The Michelin brothers

 

At the beginning the guide only covered France and four years later it extended to Belgium. It was until 1956 that it reached Italy, followed by Germany in 1966 and the UK in 1974 (it was until 2005 that the guide reached the new continent and Asia). However the first stars were given in 1926 to differentiate those that were outstanding from the list. Five years later the ranking extended to two and three stars. In 1936, the stars became what they are until today stating (one star: ‘a very good restaurant in its own category’; two stars: ‘excellent cooking, worth a detour’; and three stars: ‘exceptional cuisine, worth a special trip’).

 

Illustration of one star chefs

Amongst the very first three-star chefs were:

Eugénie Brazier

5eeeb5f3dc9f1fa7643bf5ec347bf323(also the very first woman to win such recognition)

 

Fernand Point

point

 

As far as records go, I must say I highly admire chef Paul Bocuse who has held his three Michelin stars for 50 years! His restaurant the Auberge du Pont de Collonges at Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or started the legend in 1965 and has continued since.

In 1997 the guide went online and nowadays viamichelin.com receives over 20 million hits a year!!
Michelin now and then..
Michelin_100-Logo
In the preface of the first Michelin guide published in 1900, André and Edouard Michelin wrote “This Guide was born with the century, and it will last every bit as long” how right they were! After 114 years not only the star rating is one of the most expected culinary happenings of every year but the guides are our companions around the world.
Interesting uh?
Happy Traveling!
Your host,
Italia

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