The restaurateur told the Independent Hotel Show this week that the accolades served more to attract staff than they did diners.
He highlighted the success of The Pig restaurant with rooms brand - which is opening its fifth site in Devon in 2016 - as demonstrating that there was more to creating a destination restaurant than Michelin recognition.
“I don’t think your average customer would give a brass razoo whether [The Pig] was in the Michelin Guide or whatever guide, [it’s more about] the whole atmosphere that’s created around the idea of a country restaurant,” said Stein.
“I think that accolades are actually more about attracting staff than attracting customers. At the very top end when you’ve got two or three Michelin Stars that does count, but on the whole I wouldn’t be too fussed about where you are in the guides.
“It’s about how you project what you offer. Marketing is so important but I think the first thing is having a mission yourself. Once you have that I think everything else falls in to place. You need your marketing team to sell it for you, but really [the restaurant] sells itself.”
Rather dodgy than deluxe
The chef also revealed that had no interest in opening a standalone Rick Stein restaurant in a hotel, despite being frequently approached to do so.
“My reason for turning them down is that I just love the quirkiness and slight dodginess of restaurants – unless you’ve got a Michelin Star – and that idea of running things from the seat of your pants,” he said.
“If you’ve got a hotel and the stability from the rooms you can make the restaurant more deluxe than most of us can do, but the downside to that is that hotel restaurants are almost a bit too perfect.
“Sometimes when you go to a restaurant and the kitchen isn’t in the right place or everyone has to go to the bar to ring up the bills it’s nice as a customer because it’s sort of like nothing quite works.
“I am biased because I don’t have a big restaurant in a hotel, but I just like the fact [in restaurants] that something might go wrong, and often does.”
Do you want to work for Rick Stein? Check out a range of job openings at The Seafood Restaurant here.