Purveyors of fine dining would surely be familiar with the Michelin Guide, considered one of the most prestigious honour in the culinary world for a restaurant to be included in it.
Beyond being just a guidebook listing great restaurants, it is an acknowledgement of the chef’s skills, the quality of food as well as the exclusive culinary experience.
photo source: michelin guide official website
A bit of history
The Michelin Guide has the unlikeliest start, tracing its roots back to a tyre company in France by Andre and Edouard Michelin. In 1889, the brothers came up with a guide containing useful information such as how to change a tyre, maps, the location of petrol stations and a list of places to eat nearby and take shelter, to help motorists.
The guide was given out for free for almost two decades until 1920 when Andre decided to sell the Michelin Guide. This new version also included a list of hotels and restaurants in specific categories as well as paid advertisements. In due time, the guide awarded stars to fine dining restaurants, ranking them from one to three stars.
Today, some 40,000 establishments are listed across four different continents, covering 32 countries, and more than 30 million copies of the guide have been sold worldwide.
The rating system
Initially, the Michelin team will earmark the restaurant to be rated, usually by an anonymous reviewer, although there have been rare instances when it is conducted openly and the restaurateur is aware that he is being inspected. After a report has been submitted and discussed by the Michelin inspectors, then a decision will be made on the number of Michelin stars to be given to the establishment, if any at all.
A restaurant is awarded Michelin stars based on specific criteria such as:
- Quality of ingredients
- Food presentation
- Combination of flavours
- Value for money
- Consistency of food quality
Aim for the stars
Obviously, receiving a Michelin star rating is regarded a top honour and accorded a certain reverence in the culinary world. Note that the Michelin Guide stars are given to the restaurants and not to the chefs themselves, as a nod to the collective effort and team work of the whole establishment. And while the epicentre of the Michelin Guide appears to be France, local food, alongside street stalls and hole-in-the-wall eateries have also been recognised.
A paper qualification or legit training are not always the defining criterion for a chef to be noticed for a Michelin-starred restaurant, but they go a long way to hone one’s cooking skills.
One of most comprehensive training programmes in French classical cooking is the highly acclaimed Diplôme De Cuisine offered by Sunway Le Cordon Bleu which enables students to learn the basics right up to advance cooking techniques employed by professional chefs. The diploma can be completed in nine months study and three months industry placement, comprising three certificates - Basic, Intermediate and Superior. Many of the educators have worked in some of the world’s finest and Michelin-starred kitchens.
Another option is the Grand Diplôme®, a comprehensive training programme that combines cuisine and pastry lessons, taught by Le Cordon Bleu master chefs who have worked around the globe. The programme covers all French gastronomy techniques necessary for handling a multitude of ingredients and adapting to world cuisines. At the end of their training, students will be equipped with a solid foundation in cuisine, pastry or boulangerie.
The Le Cordon Bleu cooking academy gives students access to an international network of chefs and international alumni across the globe, exposing them to numerous opportunities for interaction and growth. Among the many renowned Le Cordon Bleu chefs who have worked in Michelin-starred restaurants are Eric Briffard (Le Régence, Plaza Athénée Hotel and Le Cinq Restaurant in Paris); Cristóbal Muñoz (Ambivium in Peñafiel, Spain); and Eric Bediat (Waldo’s in Cliveden House, Britain, Le Grand Véfour in Paris, Waterside Inn in Bray, Britain).
Closer to home, chef Garima Arora from Mumbai heads Bangkok-based Gaa Restaurant which was awarded the prestigious Michelin star, and is said to be the first Indian woman to get the honour. The Le Cordon Bleu (Paris) alumni has worked with renowned international chefs like Gordan Ramsay and Rene Redzepi. Her restaurant’s menu offers Indian-Thai cross-cultural cuisine.
Another notable chef is Vicky Wan Ki Lau, head chef and owner of one Michelin star restaurant Tate Dining Room and Bar in Hong Kong. Having honed her culinary skills at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit in Bangkok and worked at Michelin-starred Cépage in Hong Kong, she was named the Best Female Chef in Asia by Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.
Pertinence in Paris, owned by Le Cordon Bleu alumni Kwen Liew who teamed up with fellow chef Ryunosuke Naito, was also awarded one Michelin star. Liew took up the cuisine course in Le Cordon Bleu Sydney, Australia and completed her final semester at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School in Bangkok for the diploma. She also took up a nine-month pastry course in the south of France and then interned at Restaurant Antoine in Paris. She was the first Malaysian woman to be honoured with a Michelin-star, one of only two women on the 2018 list.
Currently, one of the Chef Instructors of the Diploma de Cuisine at Sunway Le Cordon Bleu is Sylvain Dubreau who has had experience at the Michelin-star Le Melazane by Gourmard restaurant at Hilton Resort in Mauritius and the world-famous Lotte Hotel in Seoul, South Korea.
If you’re thinking of taking your cooking skills to the next level, a Le Cordon Bleu diploma would be your international passport to the world of cuisine as it is recognised worldwide, bringing you a step closer towards the Michelin Guide.
For more information about our programmes please WhatsApp us at 019-3052586 or email to email@example.com