food & drink

Michelin restaurant guide brings controversy

Written by littlegoode

Celebrites across London will be devastated this week, as the new Michelin guide has stripped many fancy favourites of their stars.

Celebrites across London will be devastated this week, as the new Michelin guide has stripped many fancy favourites of their stars. Restaurants hit include both Nobu restaurants, favourited by the likes of, well, every celebrity you can think of, and Tom Aiken’s restaurant in Chelsea.

But where have those stars gone, and will this change to the style of the most revered food guide in the country be welcomed?

The Michelin mark

Michelin guides have been published for over 100 years and, as pretentious as a lot of people think they are, they are a tried and tested way to judge the best quality restaurants in the world.

The awarding and removing of a Michelin star can seriously affect a restaurant’s business, making it the top accolade for every fancy restaurant and also the biggest blow when one is lost.

But, Michelin stars are not awarded lightly and chefs must work relentlessly to get them, so the frivolous way in which the guide has stripped them away this year has come under extreme criticism.

No real reason

The fundamental problem with the Michelin guide removing the stars from top restaurants, is that the restaurants themselves have not deteriorated.

This is not a hygiene rating, it’s an indication of how good the food is. To remove a star from a restaurant that has seemed to continue to provide consistently astounding food and service, has raised many queries from regular customers and the general public.

Both Nobu restaurants were stripped of their stars this week, despite providing sixteen years of flawless and continuinally award-winning cuisine. It is a favourite with many celebrities and has had their stars since 1998 and 2005, respectively.

Other restaurants have lost their star rating due to rennovation and relocation, as they are not open for business. But there remain several restaurants, Nobu included, who are puzzled and perplexed by the sudden removal of their Michelin star, only for it to be awarded to a start-up restaurant, or wine bar.

The rise of informal dining

The guide’s justification for removing stars from so many popular restaurants is that, as a country, we have taken a turn towards more informal dining. Fourteen new stars have been awarded to country pubs, tapas bars and even a curry house, for the atmosphere they present and their popularity, as well as the food.

But, while the popularity of the gastro pub is undeniable, many food critics and reviewers are still not happy with the Michelin guide’s reckless removal of their stars.

For over 100 years, the Michelin star has been a mark of a top quality restaurant complete with silver service and a unique dining experience, rather than the ‘hipster hangouts’ the guide seems to have favoured this year. To remove these stars from businesses who have maintained their quality year after year, is frankly unacceptable.

While fourteen new UK restaurants and bars celebrate their star accolade, many people are left questioning why the Michelin guide is making such an effort to keep up with the kids, seemingly at the expense of truly excellent, classic dining.

What do you think? Do you like the new guide? Have your say in the comments section below.