British restaurants win 14 new Michelin stars
Blog: Matthew Fort on the might of Michelin
Liane Katz, Guardian Unlimited Wednesday January 24 2007
Britain’s culinary conversion is continuing apace, according to the latest edition of restaurant industry gold standard-bearer the Michelin guide, which has awarded 15 new stars in its 2007 edition.
This year’s Great Britain & Ireland guide, published on Friday, awards a total of 122 kitchens with the industry’s top honour.
London saw four restaurants awarded a star each - La Noisette, Benares, Arbutus and L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. Meanwhile, the Gordon Ramsay-backed Pétrus restaurant was upgraded with the addition of a second star under chef patron Marcus Wareing.
The Channel Islands also had a particularly strong showing, with Guernsey hosting a Michelin-starred restaurant for only the second time, and Jersey gaining a second restaurant boasting a single star.
The guide, which is guaranteed to give chefs sleepless nights ahead of its publication each January, is based on multiple inspections by dedicated reviewers who pay for their meals and dine unannounced. Before awarding a star, inspectors may eat at a restaurant as many as 10 times.
According to the guide, a rating of one star indicates “a very good restaurant in its category”. Two stars mean that a diner can expect “excellent cooking, worth a detour”, and the rare third star is a marker of “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”.
A non-starred eatery with a “bib gourmand” can be expected to serve a high quality, three-course meal, excluding drinks, for £28 or under (€40 in Ireland).
“London has done well this year. More and more chefs are opening in London, so there are more listed than ever,” said guide editor Derek Bulmer.
”The Channel Islands have also done well. The area is able to support these sort of restaurants, it's been very successful.”
For the second year running, the guide has identified “rising stars” that are likely to be awarded a star the following year. The Vineyard at Stockcross near Newbury, Berkshire, was a rising star last year and has just been awarded two-star status.
Single Michelin stars were newly awarded to 13 establishments, including one in Wales, two in Scotland and one in the Republic of Ireland.
But the guide also brought bad news for some kitchens. A total of 12 establishments were stripped of their single stars. One of these was Orestone Manor in Torquay, which has seen the departure of its chef since the last issue of the guide.
Just last year, Torquay boasted two Michelin-starred restaurants for the first time in the guide's history, with Orestone Manor and The Elephant listed in the one-star category.
Mr Bulmer said: “It is a pity they [Orestone Manor] have lost the star. The chef moved on so we had no choice but to take it away for now.”
The Waterside Inn and the Fat Duck, both in Bray, Berkshire, and Gordon Ramsay in London's Chelsea remain the UK's only holders of three Michelin stars.
This year’s guide lists 4,839 establishments, including 3,052 hotels and guesthouses and 1,787 restaurants and pubs.
A new-look Michelin Guide London is also being launched on Friday, listing 428 restaurants and pubs. The new format aims to be more user-friendly, incorporating more information on each restaurant and a pull-out map.
The new single-star additions in this year's Michelin guide are:
Seaham Hall, Seaham, Durham; The Abbey, Penzance, Cornwall; The Harrow, Marlborough, Wiltshire: Atlantic, Jersey; Christophe, Guernsey.
La Noisette, Chelsea; Benares, Mayfair; Arbutus, Soho; L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Strand & Covent Garden.
Glenapp Castle, Ballantrae, South Ayrshire; The Kitchin, Edinburgh.
The Crown at Whitebook, Monmouth, Monmouthshire.
Republic of Ireland:
Chapter One, Dublin