The Michelin awards in the UK and Ireland reflect the diversity of the culinary landscape

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Twenty-five restaurants have been awarded Michelin stars in Great Britain and Ireland, with a selection that reflects the diversity in the culinary landscape, from fine pub fare to classic French technique, through to Indian and West African cuisine.

This year’s results, which celebrate 50 years since restaurants in the two countries were first awarded a Michelin star, were announced at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, the first live ceremony held outside London.

Despite the northern location, the ceremony was particularly successful for London restaurants, with The Ledbury in Notting Hill, led by chef-owner Brett Graham, the only restaurant awarded three stars this year. It joined eight other three-star restaurants, all of which have retained their status.

The Michelin Guide, owned by the French tire company, was conceived as an aid to European motorists and launched at the beginning of the 20th century. He is widely recognized as an arbiter of fine dining, with Michelin stars, the most influential culinary award in the world.

Of the 18 one-star establishments, 11 are based in London, including Mountain by Tomos Parry, one of the capital’s biggest openings in the last year; Aulis; Humor; Pavyllon London at the Four Seasons; 1890 at Savoy; Dorian; Humble chicken; and two West African restaurants, Akoko and Chishuru.

“I’m speechless, which is not what I usually am,” said Adejoké Bakare, chef and owner of Chishuru, who has become a de facto representative of West African cuisine in the UK, after collecting his trophy .

Six restaurants received two stars, including Mayfair’s Gymkhana, which became the only Indian restaurant in the UK capital to receive this accolade. Chef Aktar Islam’s Opheem in Birmingham also received a second star, reclaiming the title as one of the best Indian restaurants in the country.

“It’s amazing,” Islam said after receiving the award. “My journey started 31 years ago when I got kicked out of school, and it just goes to show what this industry can give to someone with no prospects.”

Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, said: “When we look at the global culinary scene, Britain and Ireland really stand out for their diversity. . . The spotlight for me is on the three Indian chefs awarded tonight, one for a star [Hrishikesh Desai of Cumbria’s Cedar Tree] and two two-star.

He added that the guide’s restaurant inspectors, who remain anonymous and represent 25 different nationalities, are based around the world but work as one team to ensure consistency in ratings across the 45 destinations Michelin covers. They evaluate an establishment based on five criteria: the quality of the ingredients, the harmony of flavors, the mastery of techniques, “the chef’s personality expressed through their cuisine” and the consistency of the menu – and over time.

London’s Le Gavroche, which closed its doors at the end of January, earned the UK’s first star half a century ago, in 1974. Michel Roux Jr, chef-patron for more than three decades and head of arguably the most famous culinary family of Great Britain, was welcomed in Manchester with a standing ovation. Lui received the 2024 Mentor Chef Award for fostering the next generation of chefs through his hospitality businesses and the Roux Fellowship Program, which places emerging chefs on secondment around the world.

Roux Jr presented this year’s Young Chef award to Jake Jones of the Forge restaurant in North Yorkshire, which also received a green star for its emphasis on sustainability.

The Michelin Guide has come under scrutiny in recent years, with some critics deeming it too elitist and too focused on classical French technique. They say chefs’ creativity is stifled, encouraging them to opt for cuisine they believe will win and retain accolades.

“The first advice we always give to chefs is to work for the client and not for the Michelin Guide, because all our inspectors are just repeat guests,” Poullenec said. “They arrive [anonymously], they eat, they pay, they go. There is no way to reach the star.”

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