Food News

Curious About the Michelin Review Process?

October 18, 2017

Michelin, that century-old dining guide, is peeling back the curtain on their restaurant review process with a cheeky new illustration. The vertical comic details how their team tests, selects, and compiles some of the world's best restaurants. To see the drawing on the organization's site, click here.

Each year, the process involves nearly 500 people and comprises roughly five steps. First, the editor-in-chief prepares an itinerary for the regional inspectors. Then, inspectors, each with their own specialized region, visit and test various hotels and restaurants. Third, they return to their respective Michelin offices, report their findings, and begin the star selection process to determine how many of their coveted stars each establishment deserves. Next, they draft reports for each lucky mention. And last, they compile the reports, add images and maps, and send off the draft to the publishers.

Michelin, as an institution, often comes under fire for perpetuating a euro-centric approach to restaurant criticism. The guide, which began in France, is said to adhere to a dining standard that leans heavily European. The European continent, for example, has over 15,000 Michelin-recognized establishments to East and Southeast Asia’s roughly 700. Latin America, meanwhile, can claim only 172. The illustration touches on their guiding standards. It reads: “The role of our inspectors is not to judge a country’s gastronomy. They are there to assess the quality of the ingredients, the harmony of the flavors, and the chef’s personality as expressed in their cuisine.”

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As for the people that make the magic happen? The comic boils it down to three groups of people: the customers, the inspectors, and the service professionals. All three are instrumental in bringing the annual guide to life. I’m particularly interested in the note that says each inspector anonymously tastes around 250 meals a year. Where do I sign up?

Do you go by the Michelin guide? Let us know your best Michelin meals in the comments.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.

1 Comment

Tommy M. April 8, 2019
To all you Michelin star reviewer.. I just have a very quick question about all your reviews of restaurant over the world. How is it that you guys can do a review of the restaurant 1 time and can give it a 1 or 2 star sometime even 3 star. do u guys do surprise drop in or do u tell them your coming. I bet you guys tell them your coming so they would give u the most attended service and the most edible food that they can..Please if anyone of u have any brains do a surprise drop in visit with no mentioning and see what happen. I bet all those star restaurant u guys gave won't be stars anymore.. For Kau kee restaurant in Hong Kong that was no way a 1 star restaurant. if u guys say it is that i can feed u guys any kind of garbage or crap u will like alot better than kau kee.. I have see alot of your reviews for Hong Kong Restaurants maybe 1 or 2 deserve a star, but most likely not all on your list.For me to write my review I need at lease try out the place 3 to 4 times @ different time of the day. To test there consistency. going to a restaurant @ different time and of the day will give u different result of there food. I suppose you people knows that already but maybe is the free food you guys are getting that make you give them a star or 2....