Even casual food enjoyers know that when a restaurant has a Michelin star, it’s a big deal. And if you’re a major foodie, then you may seek out restaurants that you know have attained one. But what do big-time chefs think about the whole Michelin star system? Well, someone asked Gordon Ramsay that exact question during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session.
Ramsay explained that one thing he admires about the Michelin star system is that it’s consistent and fair. He wrote, “It’s a guy who is judging you incognito. We have a lot of guys in this country, and Europe, who are a bit too familiar, too chummy with chefs, and they overindulge – food editors, they’ll know, and tip off the chef. With a Michelin guide, you have no idea when they’ll be in, or when they’ll review you. And that’s why they’re the most feared and respected by chefs.” Additionally, he set the record straight on a common misconception about the rating system.
Michelin Stars Are Awarded To Restaurants — Not Chefs
In his answer to the Reddit question, Gordon Ramsay also clarified one aspect of the Michelin star rating system that often gets misconstrued: The star goes to the restaurant, not the chef. Ramsay wrote, “Now I’m always asked – you’re a hands-on chef, you’re on TV, how come you’re still with these stars? Who does the cooking when you’re not there? … The stars are awarded to the restaurant. And sometimes the chefs think the stars belong to the chefs, but they belong to the restaurant. The service is just as important.” As for his own restaurants, Ramsay noted that he leaves them in the hands of chefs whom he trusts, who continue to run things even when he comes to check in.
However, all that being said, even though Ramsay admires the Michelin star rating system, it is not what motivates him. Ramsay concluded, “So when people ask me ‘What do you think of Michelin?’ I don’t cook for the guide, I cook for customers.”