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Michelin Stars: A Brief History

Updated: Jan 26


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The Michelin Guides are a series of guide books that have been published by the French tyre company Michelin since 1900. The Guide awards up to three Michelin stars for excellence to a select few establishments.

All chefs desire the infamous Michelin Stars. When a restaurant receives one Michelin Star, it is a clear indication that the restaurant has flourished and succeeded to a higher level.


Surprisingly, the Michelin guides had very little to do with cuisine as they were originally initiated as guidebooks published by the French tire company Michelin for more than a century. The term coined from the Michelin Red Guide, the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide, grants up to three Michelin stars to a select few restaurants. The businesses can be influenced dramatically by the addition or loss of the Michelin Star. Once a restaurant obtains all three, the restaurant is usually booked for months in advance and vastly populated.


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Three MICHELIN Stars is the highest award, given for the superlative cooking of chefs at the peak of their profession; their cooking is elevated to an art form and some of their dishes are destined to become classics.


The era of Michelin Stars came to place as the increase of demand in cars, and tire manufacturers became more apparent. The company had started in 1889 as brothers Edouard, and Andre Michelin published a guide for French motorists explaining the repair and replacement instructions, car mechanics listings, hotels, gas stations, and more throughout France. They joined in to look for a method to draw in the limited number of drivers to make more journeys and, as a result, buy more tires to increase their profit. The first print included 35,000 free copies of the guide that displayed a wealth of information for motorists showcasing the best meals and accommodation while touring in their vehicles. As time went on, the business expanded along with the guide.


The publication of the guide had been suspended during World War I; however, the publication resumed by 1920. As the brothers ramped up the quality of the guide, they began to change them. The first actual Michelin star ratings were given in 1926, and a few years later, the rating system expanded to become the Michelin three-star rating in 1931. The dining component was in such high demand that Michelin decided to set up a team of anonymous inspectors to visit and rate restaurants based on this three-tier scale. The three stars exhibit "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey," two stars as "excellent cooking, worth a detour," and one star as a "very good restaurant in its category."


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The acquisition or loss of a star or stars can have dramatic effects on the success of a restaurant.

In 2005, Michelin reached the United States and published its first American guide covering 500 restaurants in five boroughs of New York City and 50 hotels in Manhattan.


Presently, the renowned Michelin Stars are awarded selectively to a small number of restaurants globally for superior quality. Suppose you are an aspiring chef or enjoy renowned cuisines. In that case, it is recommended to go to popular cities like Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Vegas, as the Michelin Guide only touches on a small number of US cities. It currently covers 23 countries, with 14 editions sold in 90 countries.


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