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Michelin guide for Great Britain and Ireland launch next Wednesday (21 January 2009)

 
Celebrity chef Michael Caines has called on Michelin to be �brave� and hand out lots of new stars in the 2009 guide to inspire the next generation of UK chefs.

Ahead of the Michelin guide for Great Britain and Ireland�s launch next Wednesday (21 January), the two-Michelin-starred chef told Caterersearch 2009 will be a �big year� for the UK.

�My prediction is that there will be lots of new stars this year,� Caines said. �My money is on Corrigan�s, Murano and Danesfield House for one star and Nathan Outlaw and Hibiscus for two stars.�

Caines added that 2009 could also be the first year since 2004 that Michelin will award three stars to a UK restaurant and tipped Eric Chavot at the Capital and Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, both in London, to get the nod.

�2009 is the year for Michelin to be brave. After so many stars were awarded in Tokyo and New York, it�s really important that the UK and Ireland is awarded more stars,� said Caines.

�The next generation of chefs needs to know that they can aspire to be the next Gordon Ramsay or Heston Blumenthal. It needs to be shown that three-stars can be achieved in Britain.�

However, the chef added that 2009 would be a tough year for Michelin under the current economic climate.

�It will be a difficult year for them as they won�t want to be left with egg on their face by honouring unsustainable restaurants that will go out of business,� he said.

Predictions

After last year's relatively poor crop of awards, hopes are high that there'll be at least a few two stars handed out this year. Restaurants including L'Autre Pied, Nathan Outlaw, Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley and Claude and Claire Bosi's Hibiscus are getting the top votes from their peers but the consensus among the industry seems that 2009 will be yet another year where the UK's number of three-starred restaurants will remain unchanged.

Here's what our top chefs had to say:

Anthony Demetre, chef proprietor of London restaurants Arbutus and Wild Honey:
I predict Murano, L'Autre Pied and Theo Randall will gain one star and that Hibiscus and Marcus Wareing will get two stars. I don't think that there will be any new three stars.

Stephen Harris, head chef at the Sportsman in Whitstable, Kent:
I would like to see Fraiche in Liverpool and Anthony's in Leeds gain a star.

Dylan Thomas McGrath, head chef, Mint, Dublin:
Ireland gaining two stars last year was a great success but I don't think there'll be any new stars awarded in Ireland this year.

Bjorn van der Horst, chef patron, Eastside Inn in London (to launch in March):
It's about time the Greenhouse gets a second a star and my tip would be that Hibiscus, Marcus Wareing, H�l�ne Darroze and possibly Alain Ducasse will also gain two stars.

Glyn Purnell, chef proprietor, Purnell's in Birmingham:
My tip is that L'Autre Pied in London and Danesfield House in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, will gain one star and that Hibiscus will get a second star. While I doubt there'll be any new three-starred restaurants there might be rising three stars, such as Le Champignon Sauvage or Midsummer House. Why Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons hasn't got three stars is beyond me.

Kenny Atkinson, head chef, The White Room, County Durham:
My prediction is that L'Autre Pied will gain a star and that Nathan Oulaw, Hibiscus and Marcus Wareing will gain two stars. If anyone deserves a third star it's David Everitt-Matthias at Le Champignon Sauvage but I'm not sure Michelin will award three stars this year.

Simon Hulstone, chef proprietor, The Elephant, Devon:
My tip would be that Nathan Outlaw will gain his second star and that Ode in Shaldon, Devon, and Fraiche in Liverpool and Texture in London will get a star.

Theo Randall, head chef at his eponymous restaurant at the InterContinental Park Lane:
I think that Murano and Galvin at Windows will gain a star and that Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester will get one or possibly even two stars. I would love to see Philip Howard at The Square gain a third star; he really deserves it.

Michael Wignall, head chef, The Latymer, Surrey:
I doubt there'll be any new three stars this year but my money's on Nathan Outlaw to get his second star.

Daniel Galmiche, executive chef at the Forbury Hotel, Reading:
I'm very hopeful that we'll see three stars this year and I would love to see Marcus Wareing be the next three-star chef in London because he really deserves it. Eric Chavot at The Capital would be my next bet for three stars. Nathan Outlaw will get his second star and my tip is that Sketch might get its second star too.



Double edged Sword

With just more than a week until the 2009 Michelin guide is released, restaurateurs have warned that winning a Michelin star can be a double-edged sword.

The Michelin guide for Great Britain and Ireland will be released on Wednesday 21 January and hopes are high that, unlike last year, the top accolades of two or even three stars will be awarded.

However, winning a star presents both pros and cons, according to some of last year�s winners.

Anthony Demetre, chef proprietor of London restaurants Arbutus and Wild Honey, said that, while any accolade is good for business, Michelin is particularly beneficial.

�Michelin is seen as the ultimate accolade and not just by the industry but by consumers as well,� he said.

�The guide�s well-publicised, and continuing international expansion has created a much wider audience.�

However, Sriram Aylor director and executive chef at Indian restaurant Quilon, told Caterersearch he had experienced both the positive and negative effects of winning a star.

�It was a fantastic honour and such a surprise to win a star, and it�s raised our profile tremendously not just in the UK but internationally too,� he said. �But now there�s a lot of pressure as customers have high expectations and that can be a challenge at times.�

Stephen Harris, head chef at the Sportsman in Whitstable, Kent, said that winning a Michelin star as a pub generated a lot of media attention.

�But it has also meant that we now attract diners who expect a certain level of service and formality associated with Michelin-starred establishments,� he added.

�They complain when they don�t find this at the Sportsman but we�re a pub, not a fine dining restaurant, and some customers don�t understand that Michelin is very much about the food and no longer about white tablecloths.�



Background - Michelin star guide - what the stars mean:

* One-Michelin-star: A very good restaurant or pub in its category
The star indicates a good place to stop on your journey. But beware of comparing the star given to an expensive de luxe establishment with that of a simple restaurant where you can appreciate fine cooking at a reasonable price.
**Two-Michelin-star: Excellent cooking, worth a detour
Specialities and wines of first class quality. This will be reflected in the price
***Three-Michelin-star: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey
One always eats here extremely well, sometimes superbly. Fine wines, faultless service, elegant surroundings. One will pay accordingly



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