Lesson #87: The Michelin Guide

Club Manager Housemate and I were watching TV tonight after dinner and came across a really interesting show on Michelin Stars and their magical powers.* And we learned a bit about the history of them. I was far more interested in that than in the people who actually have Michelin Stars and whether they would keep them when the new guide came out at the end of January. Mostly because I don’t really care that much.

I always kind of giggled when I heard about Michelin Stars because it always made me think of the Michelin Man. To my delighted surprise, I was not even a little bit wrong.

The Michelin Guide was first put together by the Michelin brothers in 1900. It was designed to be a book to inform French motorists where they could service their vehicles and buy gas. Maps were introduced to the guides in 1910 and in 1920, the Michelin brothers started charging (seven francs) for copies of the guide. The guide began recommending hotels and restaurants in 1923 and the star system was came about in 1926, establishing Michelin as a trusted resource in fine dining in France. The original system had only one star, but in 1931 the current incarnation of two and three stars was introduced.**

*I’m not even kidding. French chef Bernard Loiseau committed suicide in February 2003 over fears that he was going to lose his third star.

**More can be read here and here.

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