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Gastronomica Heaven: What is the Michelin Star?

Let us look at what is the Michelin Star and how many Indians have this honor bestowed on them.

Michelin Star is among the most well-known, respected, and premiere restaurant guides. However, the origin of this Guide is nowhere related to the food industry. 

In the year 1900, the sales of automobiles had dropped considerably. The founders of Michelin Tires- Andre and Edouard Michelin, published a guide to increase automobile demand. This Guide was disrupted free of cost to people and contained maps, addresses of shops that changed tires, a list of restaurants, hotels, mechanics, gas stations, and so on. Starting in France, the Guide quickly spread to parts of Europe as well as Africa. The outbreak of World War I halted the production of the Guide. 

But, post the War, in 1920, the Guide was back and now it was not free. The brothers worked to make the Guide more refined and started charging for it and giving out stars to restaurants. 

The Beginning of Michelin Star System 

The first Star rating was in 1926. Restaurants were given a single star if they were a “fine dining establishment.” This system was gradually refined and is currently the Guide we know it as. 

Restaurants that offer outstanding food are awarded this star. The judgment is done on five criteria- “the quality of the ingredients, the harmony of flavours, the mastery of techniques, the personality of the chef as expressed through their cuisine and, consistency both across the entire menu and over time.”

Michelin Stars are annual awards. They also assess the current places that have already been awarded the stars. 

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Who are the judges for awarding?

The process is clouded in anonymity as the inspectors are anonymous. After several inspectors have eaten in the restaurant they decide as a team to make the final decision. 

What are the different levels?

One Stars- top quality ingredients were used, and dishes had a distinct flavour. 

Two  Stars- When the food is refined and inspired and the personality of the Chef and talent are evident in the dish

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Three Stars- This is the highest award and is given when the dishes are “destined to become classics.” 

Many Indian restaurants or restaurants serving Indian dishes across the World have a Michelin Star. Ironically, India does not have a Michelin Star restaurant.

Michelin Stars are awarded to restaurants and not chefs. Even though the Chef is the most important driver, the restaurant gets the star. Here are a few Indian-origin chefs whose restaurants have a Michelin Star.

1. Vikas Khanna


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His restaurant in New York has been awarded the Michelin Star for its spectacular cuisine. Even after seeing a lot of hardships, he continued to pursue his goals, and today, he is one of the most well-known Indian chefs in the world. 

2. Atul Kochhar

Two restaurants of his- Tamarind and Benares have a Michelin Star. The combination of traditional and modern gives his food an extra kick. 

3. Vineet Bhatia


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His restaurant ‘Rasoi’ has been awarded a Michelin Star for the experimental Indian cuisines it serves. 

4. Garima Arora


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Her restaurant Gaa in Bangkok received a Michelin Star in 2018, making her the first Indian woman to get this honor. 

5. Sriram Aylur

A legend in the mix, Aylur has retained the Michelin for his restaurant Quilon since 2008. Giving coastal food an innovative touch, the quality and taste of its food are outstanding. 

6. Srijith Gopinath

Nestled in San Fransisco, the Taj Campton Palace has been awarded two Michelin stars. Gopinath has been supervising the place for years and has helped bring it the recognition it has today.

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Harshita Bajaj

Harshita has a background in Psychology and Criminology and is currently pursuing her PhD in Criminology. She can be found reading crime thrillers (or any other book for that matter) or binge-watching shows on Netflix when she is not in hibernation.
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