Behind the scenes of the MICHELIN guide

Since its creation in 1900, the MICHELIN guide has been setting the tone for fine dining in France and, now, throughout the world. Our inspectors hunt for the best addresses in a growing number of towns and countries: 27 destinations today have “their” guide.



After visiting Europe beginning with Italy 60 years ago, the MICHELIN guide has since explored culinary horizons further afield. Our inspectors crossed the Atlantic in 2004 (New York City MICHELIN guide) before heading off to discover Tokyo in 2006 (2008 vintage). And the movement is picking up speed. After its first destination in Latin America in 2015 (Rio de Janeiro & São Paulo), no less than 4 new cities were awarded with MICHELIN stars and Bibs Gourmand in 2016:

  • Washington DC
  • Seoul
  • Shanghai
  • Singapore

The destinations and cuisines may be increasingly diverse but one thing never changes: the rigor in the Michelin method. All around the world, our inspectors continue to anonymously test restaurants according to the criteria in place since the guide’s very beginnings.

How to score: the food, only the food, nothing but the food

In Paris, Seoul and Rio, our inspectors use the same criteria to judge restaurants and they only concern what is on the plate. There are five in total:

  • The quality of the products used
  • The mastery of the cooking processes or the flavors when the products are served raw
  • The personality of the cooking, meaning the chef’s flair
  • The consistency of quality in the dishes
  • Value for money

The stars, Bibs Gourmand and the recent “Assiettes” which since last year indicates a good meal are only allocated according to these criteria.

Contrary to certain preconceived ideas, no other element is taken into account when allocating MICHELIN stars. Not even the restaurant’s class, which has a specific score from one to five “covers”. The specific quality of the service has no part to play either, even if it can be highlighted in the inspector’s comments.

Discovering new cities

Every year, our guides are updated for the new edition. The work of the inspectors is to observe the development of restaurants mentioned in the previous edition and discover new addresses to enrich the guide. And when a new destination is involved, there is a great deal of work to do! A city or country must be traveled from top to bottom to establish the foundations for presenting an overall vision of local food.

3 questions for…

Gwendal Poullennec


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No quotas for MICHELIN stars



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