The world-famous Michelin gastronomic guide has also arrived in Estonia – on May 25 it will be officially announced which Estonian restaurant will be the first to receive this award and international fame.
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A Michelin star for a restaurant is like an Oscar for an actor; every institution in the world dreams of it. But getting this international rating is by no means easy.
The Foundation for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (EAS and Kredex) has signed an agreement under which restaurants in Estonia will be awarded Michelin stars and can be included in the famous Michelin Guide.
Why is the arrival of the Michelin driver in Estonia such an important event?
Michelin-starred driver Gwendal Pullennek noted that Estonian cuisine is still unknown to many, but thanks to Estonia’s strong gastronomic traditions, there is something surprising about true gourmets. “Using an innovative approach, top chefs interpret Estonia’s gastronomic heritage in the most modern way. We are excited to share the selection of Estonian restaurants in the Michelin Restaurant Guide with food lovers around the world,” he said.
“Joining the Michelin family will make us better known, understood and comparable internationally. The impact of the agreement with Michelin on Estonia’s exports and reputation in the tourism industry is long-term,” said Andres Sutt, Estonian Minister of Business and Information Technology . .
“The strategic goal of Estonian tourism is not to increase indefinitely, but to develop quality tourism, to arouse the interest of the most informed visitors who consume more expensive products. Other companies will also have a positive effect, for example, overnight stays will is added to hotels.
“Michelin will definitely contribute to the development of Estonian food culture in a broader sense, motivate you to grow quality local products, become the best chef, open restaurants with strong taste impressions and world-class service,” said Liina Marija Lepik. Director of the EAS Tourism Development Center.
From a travel brochure to a world-renowned guide
The history of Michelin stars begins in the late 19th century. In 1889, in the small French town of Clermont-Ferrand, brothers André and Edouard Michelin opened their own small tire company, Michelin. In an effort to increase sales of their products, they came up with a cunning marketing ploy: in 1900 they published a small pamphlet called the Michelin Red Guide, which told self-employed travelers to France to find decent accommodation, restaurants, gas stations and tires. representatives.
But they did not stop there. In 1904 the booklet was already on sale in Belgium, in 1907 – in Algiers and Tunisia, in 1909 the first English edition was published.
For 20 years, the booklet was distributed completely free of charge, although it was not very popular. Nevertheless, the writers continued to replenish their list by adding restaurants there. At the same time, the most expensive places to eat began to be marked with an asterisk, which looked slightly like a flower. From that moment on, the driver was paid, but his price was only conditional.
In 1926, the rating policy changed dramatically and since then, an asterisk next to the name of the restaurant means excellent cuisine. In the early 1930s, two more stars were added. More system has not changed and is literally decrypted as follows:
* – a very good restaurant in its category (meaning the type of cuisine).
** – excellent cuisine, for the sake of the restaurant it makes sense to make a small detour from the route.
*** – an excellent job of the chef, so it makes sense to make a special trip to the country.
How to enter the rating with stars
The criteria for awarding the rating are Michelin trade secrets and are not public, but the main criterion is known – the kitchen. From the driver’s point of view, the atmosphere, the service, the interior and the price range are all secondary to the food served. The guide does not consider “modern” shops and restaurants without a writer’s kitchen (ie without a chef).
In addition to the kitchen, the main criterion to be included in the rating is accessibility to the visitor. So in 2019, Tokyo Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi bar, which has owned three Michelin stars since 2007, was blocked by the driver due to the fact that you can only book a seat there through the concierge of an expensive hotel.
It is well known that stars are often awarded to chefs, not restaurants, so the chef can go and “grab” his star to another restaurant.
In 2003 the book “L’inspecteur se met à table” was published by Remy Pascal, who worked for many years as a Michelin inspector, in which he lifted the veil of secrecy and said, for example, how stars are awarded and how they are removed. Remy admitted that he would advise gourmets to eat in restaurants with one or two stars, and not in “three stars”, since “true talent is revealed in the fight”. The book angered the company and Pascal was fired immediately.