The release of Michelin 2016 UK guide has yet again been edged closer to being the first major guide of the year, an honour currently held by the Good Food Guide. Initially it was released in mid October, now it is destined for its appearance in the second week of an Indian summer.
So before I get to the juicy bits I know you’ll want to read about, there are a few questions that need to be asked, like:
- Will the Fat Duck retain its 3* status, despite only being open a possible five months for inspection in this guides year?
- Will various departures at senior levels in 2 & 3* restaurants affect continuity, & possible awards?
- Will Manchester finally get a starred restaurant?
After last year’s release, many would like to see Michelin 2016 be a much more liberal affair. In the 2015 little red book, there was a zero nett increase in new stars awarded; 14 deletions/demotions & 14 additions, with no new 2 or 3 stars.
So what does Michelin look at for a star?
With Michelin finally starting to embrace online media, they’ve actually started to talk about what it takes. There is no formula; so all those chefs that think doing skid marks of vegetable purées on plates, or the passé practice of foams, is the way forward, it isn’t. Michelin have always, for as long as I can remember, stated that the only thing that counts at 1*, is the food.
There are five main criteria:
- Quality of ingredients.
- Flair and skill in preparing ingredients and combining flavours.
- The chef’s personality as revealed through their cuisine.
- Value for money.
- Consistency of culinary standards.
A new 3* for Michelin 2016??
Every year it is pretty much the same. Will there be a new 3* restaurant, this is the very pinnacle of culinary excellence, as defined by the French tyre maker. As these magical little gongs carry a PR value second to none, and such, it means that an elevation to the top table is highly unlikely. For me, the main candidates, should there be a new 3*, would are:
- Midsummer House, Cambridge.
- The Ledbury, London
Any new 2*s??
Again, last year left us devoid of any new 2* restaurants. Thankfully, for Michelin 2016, we aren’t short of candidates for elevation to the big leagues. Names that are being bandied around are:
- Fera – (unlikely as only promoted to 1* last year, maybe for Michelin 2017)
- The Araki
Tips for new 1* in Michelin 2016:
- Typing Room, London (tipped last year)
- Lyles, London (tipped last year)
- Bao, London
- Restaurant Mark Greenaway, Edinburgh
- The French – Simon Rogan, Manchester
- Allium, Abbey Hotel, Bath
- A Wong, London (tipped last year)
- James Sommerin, Penarth (tipped last year)
- The Greenhouse, Dublin (tipped last year)
- Quattro Passi, London
- André Garrett at Cliveden, Berkshire (tipped last year)
- Freemasons at Wiswell, Lancashire (tipped last year)
- The Lord Clyde, Cheshire
- Lake Road Kitchen,Cumbria
- The man behind the curtain, Yorkshire
- The Artichoke, Bucks.
- Amberley Castle, Sussex