Michelin Guide editor: “How do you get a Michelin star? Don’t cook for us”

By Emma Eversham contact

- Last updated on GMT

New one star chefs such as (clockwise) Tom Kemble, James Lowe, Kenny Atkinson and John Duffin cook with their own style, says Rebecca Burr
New one star chefs such as (clockwise) Tom Kemble, James Lowe, Kenny Atkinson and John Duffin cook with their own style, says Rebecca Burr

Related tags: Michelin star, Chef, Culinary art, United kingdom of great britain and ireland, Michelin

Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland editor Rebecca Burr’s advice to chefs disappointed at not gaining a Michelin star for their restaurant this year is 'not to cook for Michelin'. 

Following the release of the 2016 guide yesterday​ (Wednesday), Burr, who has been editor since 2011, told BigHospitality there was no 'rule book' for restaurants wishing to gain a Michelin star and the best advice was to be happy with what they are doing and develop their own style. 

"We see a lot of restaurants and we never dismiss them," she said. "The inspectors come back and say there’s something here, but it’s not quite there yet so we’ll continue to follow it.

"The Greenhouse in Dublin is a case in point (awarded one Michelin star in the 2016 guide). There’s a chef who has been cooking for many years and was hugely frustrated because he hadn’t got a star, but some of the combinations weren’t right and just did not work. The technique was off what he should be doing. But inspectors are fair people and if chefs ask we can give them a bit of guidance and feedback and talk to them.

"We are very open and want to work with them, but it’s a very individual craft."

Own style

Burr said Michelin regarded itself as an 'observer' and had no checklist for restaurants wishing to gain a star. She highlighted the fact that in London, three of the new one-star restaurants - Lyles, Bonhams and Portland - were being run by chefs with a strong sense of their own style. 

"Chefs have got to cook for their customers, they shouldn’t cook for the guides, they shouldn’t cook for us," she said. 

“It’s not that we don’t want to encourage restaurants, we do. All we can say is we support them and will visit them a lot. We can’t make it happen, it’s up to the chefs. They’ve got to be happy with what they're doing. There’s no rule book. Imagine how boring my job would be if it was just a tick box." 

New breed of chef

"New stars this year show a new breed of chef who is willing to step out with their own style and that’s nice to see. We went through a period where there were some fantastic replicators and at one star level that’s perfectly acceptable to perfect somebody else’s recipe and adapt it in your restaurant, but now we’re seeing chefs do their own thing.

"John’s House in Mountsorrel was a real find, completely off the radar and The Man Behind The Curtain - people talk about it now - but Michael O'Hare was just getting on with things.

"In London, at Lyle's, Bonhams and Portman, I would put those chefs down as being the new generation of chefs.

“They are super-confident with what they’re doing and it’s all their own style. It’s great to see."

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