Why Is Michelin – A Tire Company – The Standard For Restaurants?

Videos by Rare

Videos by Rare

It’s a fact. The Michelin company that produces modest automobile tires is the same company that publishes the Michelin fine-dining guide.

So exactly how did a tire manufacturer become the leading authority on elite restaurants?

Michelin is a French company. The first Michelin Guide was published in 1900. It was free, and it included a list of all the establishments a motorist might need – repair shops, gas stations, hotels, and restaurants.

As competition in the tire industry grew with the birth of new manufacturers like British-made Dunlop and American-made Goodyear, Goodrich, and Firestone, Michelin lost some of the competitive advantages it held during the early-20th century.

But Michelin was able to maintain its position in the French marketplace by making itself a symbol and an instrument of French nationalism. National pride.

France had come to define itself as the Western capital of fine food and drink, and the Michelin Guide helped build that notion, promote it, and further it. California has the movie industry, France has gastronomy and the restaurant industry. And the Michelin Guide became the Academy Awards of cuisine and the Oscars of cooking.

In the Michelin Guide, restaurants are awarded zero to three stars. To the uninitiated, one star might seem like a terrible review. Until you learn that the vast majority of restaurants receive zero stars. In fact, so many quality eating establishments receive zero stars that, in recent editions, the Michelin Guide has introduced non-star designations to recognize places that have really good food but quite don’t rise to the level of Michelin-starred cuisine.

Michelin publishes guides in numerous countries, and restaurants in cities like Tokyo and New York City are judged by the standards of French fine dining, thereby influencing chefs around the world to internalize French standards.

To earn a star, think super fancy and super fussy. Michelin currently awards its highest designation of three stars to about 30 restaurants in France, 13 in the United States, and three in China.

But Michelin acknowledges that it doesn’t review every single high-level restaurant in places like China as it does in western European countries. And in the U.S., Michelin only reviews restaurants in New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and California.

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