How Do You Run A Michelin Green Star Restaurant?
Whilst there are many great food critics, culinary guides and tastemakers in the world, for many restaurateurs there is only one guidebook that counts.
The first ever Michelin Guide was published in 1900 as a way to increase the demand for travel, and therefore cars and the tyres that are Michelin’s primary business, using anonymous inspectors to judge the quality of food.
Since then, however, it has evolved to become one of the defining authorities of fine dining, and restaurants in France in particular treat the publishing of a new guide as an industry event akin to the Academy Awards in film.
Gaining one of up to three stars or losing one of these stars can have a major effect on business and in some cases makes national news, but amidst the headline stars are many other criteria that a restaurant is judged on.
The Michelin Guide publishes the “Bib Gourmand”, an award that highlights restaurants that serve great food at reasonable prices, there is also the fork and spoon award for comfort and quality and highlights the achievements of everyone wearing wholesale aprons.
Alongside these criteria, however, is the Michelin Green Star that was unveiled in 2020 and rewards a sustainable vision that goes beyond the plate.
What Is A Green Star?
Unlike the Michelin Stars, which are graded from zero (recommended but not exemplary) to three stars with criteria exclusively limited to the food on the plate, a green star focuses more on the food journey, both in terms of culinary expression and their sustainability vision.
Like the Michelin Stars, it is an annual award that any restaurant is eligible to attain, but unlike the rigid five-point criteria of the former, a Green Star is designed to highlight restaurants that lead the industry in terms of their sustainability and environmental practices.
How Does A Restaurant Merit A Green Star?
Unlike a Michelin Star, in which a fine dining restaurant can often tailor their restaurant’s menu more towards the types of cuisine that are favored in a particular region’s Michelin Guide, a Green Star’s criterion is somewhat more nebulous and hopefully harder to trick.
The central tenet is that a Green Star restaurant makes a positive difference to the world around them and combines culinary excellence with ecological commitments that meet and feed into the vision.
For example, Arpége, a three Michelin Star Restaurant in Paris run by Alain Passard, was a trendsetter for the types of commitment a Green Star award winner would have, with a primarily (and at times completely) vegetable-based menu from his three kitchen gardens.
A Green Star winner, therefore, likely grows a lot of their own food, works directly with local
farmers, fishermen and growers to maintain a local providence, uses regenerative farming methods to avoid harming the essential soil and will focus on the community.
As well as this, many Green Star winners use produce in season, have a low environmental footprint overall, minimize their non-recyclable waste and express their Earth-friendly vision through their food.