Winning a James Beard Award or receiving a Michelin Star is a tremendous task and prestigious accomplishment.
Receiving these accolades is a professional triumph, whose benefits extend further than a kitchen sink or bank account. It’s a manifestation of hard work and consistent execution. With either award, authority and celebrity are bestowed upon the winners, giving them national or global recognition with their customers and peers. Understandably, not everyone can win, but it’s one of the best things that can happen to a restaurant or chef.
Here’s a brief look at the history of The James Beard Award and Michelin Star:
The James Beard Award
- The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable.
- James Beard Awards are given in many categories. They include chefs and restaurants, books, journalism, broadcast media, restaurant design, leadership, humanitarian, and lifetime achievement.
- The foundation’s awards honor members of the American food, beverage, and hospitality industries who demonstrate excellence in their respective fields. Winners show exceptional talent and creativity in their craft and commendable leadership among their colleagues and peers.
- The James Beard Foundation is dedicated to promoting a strong, safe, inclusive, and ethical food community. These awards reflect those values.
- A call for recommendations starts the first of October each year. Then, those recommendations are reviewed by a committee for consideration, and a ballot of semifinalists is created. They are not official nominations.
Entering to win a James Beard award is free and open to all. Therefore, there’s little downside in trying to establish your restaurant as one of the best. Here’s an article depicting a chef’s experience winning a James Beard Award and what it’s done for his restaurant.
Winning a Michelin Star is in a league of its own. “One of the highest honors in the restaurant industry is to be awarded a Michelin star.” The Michelin Guide has been long seen as the world’s authority on fine dining experiences and being awarded a single Michelin star can have profound impacts on your success.
“Restaurants that have received Michelin stars have reported an increase in business. French chef and restaurateur Joël Robuchon, who holds the title of being awarded the most Michelin stars in the world, told Food & Wine, “With one Michelin star, you get about 20% more business. Two stars, you do about 40% more business, and with three stars, you’ll do about 100% more business.”
Clearly, there’s a huge incentive to decorate your restaurant with these stars. So, let’s look at how to get one.
5 Areas of Assessment (according to the Michelin Guide Panel):
- Using quality products and ingredients
- Mastery of flavor and cooking techniques
- The personality of the chef as revealed through the cuisine
- Value of the cost of the meal
- Consistency of the food and culinary standards over time
Michael Ellis, former International Director of the Michelin Guides, told Elite Traveler about this criteria. “Those criteria really reflect the quality of cuisine, because this methodology is the same whether we’re in Paris, Tokyo or New York,” Ellis said.
Emmanuel Nony, owner of the Michelin-recognized Sepia, adds an interesting perspective. He says you don’t have to be a traditional fine-dining restaurant to receive a Michelin Star. “A Michelin Star denotes the level of hospitality, not the particular genre or menu. It’s the way you feel when dining at the restaurant that counts,” Emmanuel says.
Putting yourself and your restaurant up for judgement is no doubt a challenge. But, the benefits of winning such prestigious awards like The James Beard or a Michelin Star are impossible to ignore.