The release of the 2016 edition of the Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland yesterday (Wednesday) saw Carters of Mosley become the fifth restaurant in Birmingham to gain itself a star, joining Adam’s, Purnell’s, Simpsons and Turners.
Emma Gray of Marketing Birmingham was evidently pleased with the news and said the accolade demonstrated that Birmingham offered ‘one of the most exciting and innovative food scenes in the UK’.
“Birmingham has a growing reputation as a food lover’s haven, with nearly 60 per cent of visitors making their way to the city each year to experience its unique gastronomic offering. With an award-winning street food scene and a plethora of independent festivals and markets, Birmingham’s culinary scene is now more exciting than ever. It is no surprise that the city attracted a record 34 million visitors last year.
“Food has always played an important part in Birmingham’s overall tourism offer but right now there is a real buzz about its culinary scene. Having five Michelin-starred restaurants will further strengthen its reputation and will be a big draw for visitors, as well as attracting more of the very best culinary stars.”
While Birmingham was bringing out the bubbly, another major city, Manchester, remained unable to join in the celebrations after failing again to gain its much sought-after star.
More than 40 new restaurants have opened in the city this year and Simon Rogan’s restaurant The French and Manchester House, the Living Ventures-backed restaurant fronted by Aiden Byrne, have both announced their drive for a Michelin star.
Mike Jennings, chef-owner of Grenache in Walkden, was disappointed his own restaurant had missed out, but also saddened that other restaurants in his home city hadn’t received the accolade.
“Either Michelin has got something against Manchester or we are not good enough,” he said.
“Simon Rogan is doing the same at The French as he is at l’Enclume and Fera, so why can’t he get a star there?
“I believe in my product and think I’m cooking at star level as I worked with Shaun Rankin at Bohemia and saw what it took there.
“It would be nice to know why you’re not good enough for Michelin. The AA gives constructive feedback. As chefs we want to know what’s going on.”
Michelin Great Britain & Ireland editor Rebecca Burr said restaurants in Manchester had been placed under an 'unfair spotlight' since the airing of Restaurant Wars: The Battle for Manchester in 2014.
"Manchester’s a vibrant energetic city with a good food scene but that doesn’t automatically mean that one of its restaurants will get a star," she said. "It’s measured in the same way that we would look at Liverpool which doesn’t have any stars.
"We've been to Manchester and have inspectors who don't live far away, but we can't give out a star just because the city is in the headlines. That wouldn't be true to what we represent.
"I’d say to those restaurants mentioned for a star, 'have they got the back up, have they got the team, have the head chefs got the support and is the food consistently at a star level? It’s easy for local people to say this is the best restaurant in Manchester, but it doesn't mean it should have a star."
Other cities outside London, which itself now boasts 64 Michelin-starred restaurants, celebrating Michelin recognition were Newcastle and Leeds which both gained their first Michelin stars in several years, with Kenny Atkinson’s House of Tides and Michael O’Hare’s Man Behind the Curtain respectively.
Atkinson told BigHospitality gaining a Michelin star 'was the icing on the cake' for a year of accolades.
"You always hope for a star, but you never expect it," he said. "It's great for us and it's great for Newcastle, which hasn't had a star in 15 years."