Eighteen new one stars, a second for The Raby Hunt and The Fat Duck reclaimed its coveted three-star status – this year’s Michelin Guide reinforced the fact that the UK is one of the best places to eat in the world. At the star-studded unveiling of the results, the Guide’s anonymous editor Rebecca Burr sat down with us to talk about some of the new entries on the list.
It’s hard to pinpoint a formula for how a restaurant can become Michelin standard. Traditionally, the Guide was associated with classical restaurants, white tablecloths and silver service, but as this style of eating out becomes less and less popular, more casual establishments are making the grade – there’s even a street food stand in Singapore that now holds a coveted Michelin star. ‘The restaurants dictate the style to us,’ says Rebecca. ‘We’ve always been observers of what’s going on in the industry; we haven’t changed, the restaurants have. It was very natural for street food to be recognised in the Singapore Michelin Guide, but I don’t know if we’re there yet in the UK as many stalls are only temporary or pop-ups.
‘As far as stars go, they 100% refer to the food,’ she adds. ‘We’re not robots so we don’t ignore everything else that’s going on around us when we eat out, so we acknowledge things like the service, the music and the general feel of a place, but without doubt it’s the food that dictates the stars.’
The list of new one-starred restaurants this year was quite eclectic, including fine dining stalwarts like The Ritz Restaurant as well as smaller venues with a neighbourhood vibe – something Rebecca is very pleased to see in the Guide. ‘Places like Ellory and The Ninth are fantastic value for money, serving good food with nothing unnecessary or fancy on the plate,’ she says. ‘Cumbria has also had a fantastic year, with Nick Edgar over at The Samling retaining a star and both Gilpin and Forest Side winning one. For many years Cumbria was just sort of in the background and I think it’s brilliant that it’s coming to the fore because it’s ideal for people wanting to go off for a long weekend. We know stars have an effect on business, as over the years Yorkshire has become a county to go and dine in.