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Michelin Guide: Put some fuel in your engine

We all know how important it is to put fuel in our cars, but it’s just as important to fuel our own engines – and the new Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland 2014 is the perfect place to find the finest ‘filling stations’ to stop off and get the best food when on any road trip in the UK.

The Michelin Guide was started in France in 1900, at a time when there were just 3,000 cars on the road in France. Brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin were tyre makers who wanted to find a way to get more people to buy cars – so they could sell more tyres. Ingeniously, they came up with the idea of a guide that would tell people where to find the finest restaurants and hotels, encouraging the idea of touring around by car. The original 35,000 copies were given away for free.

The famous Michelin stars

The first UK guide was launched in 1911 and the famous star system was first introduced in 1926. Under the much coveted rankings, the best restaurants are awarded one, two or very rarely, three stars.

The stars translate as:

  • * A very good restaurant in its category
  • ** Excellent cooking, worth a detour
  • *** Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey

The Michelin Guide has become the most highly regarded benchmark in the industry, equivalent, some say, to the Oscars of food. Chefs went all-out to capture that all-important Michelin star rating. They are, however, exceptionally hard to come by, with just four restaurants in the UK receiving the full three stars, only 20 receiving two stars and just 138 receiving one star. This means that out of the thousands of restaurants available in the whole of the UK and Ireland, just 162 make the grade for the guide.

Who in the UK holds 3 Michelin stars?

There are four Michelin three star holders and restaurants in the UK which are Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal’s famous Fat Duck and Alain Roux’s Waterside Inn. But it’s not all about star chefs opening fancy restaurants. Michelin Guide editor, Rebecca Burr said she was just as excited by the rising stars of the industry. “We’re delighted to witness the rise of the next generation of talented British chefs and the continued evolution of British cooking,” she explained.

Naturally, the Michelin star winners will be expensive places to eat, but the guide also lists a selection of restaurants under the classification Bib Gourmands, where fine food can be found at under £28 for three courses. 27 new restaurants have been added to this year’s guide, making 143 in total across the UK and Ireland.

The new Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland 2014 is available now priced £15.99, with a companion volume, giving greater detail on London available at £11.99.

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