Michelin Guide editor Rebecca Burr has defended this year's decision not to award any new two or three stars, and has given insight into what restaurants may need to do to achieve those highest levels.
Speaking to The Caterer, Burr explained that the 2015 results should not be seen as a bad thing, and praised all restaurants that had maintained their stars for their consistency.
She urged restaurateurs and diners to understand how much effort and cost went into two- and three-star establishments, and pointed out what places might need to do to reach the coveted higher echelons.
She explained: "There will always be restaurants that sit very nicely in the middle of the one star, and there will be some slightly on the edge, about to move up. Getting two stars is about technical refinement, that extra level, something that sets them apart."
She also said that restaurants with three stars had maintained them thanks to a constant level of innovation, such as long-standing three-star, the Waterside Inn in Bray. She also name-checked Clare Smyth's Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck (which is set to move temporarily to Australia in the coming months).
Burr said: "They are still at the forefront, making subtle changes. There are dishes that have been on the menu for years, but that they continue to perfect. You think, 'Will it be as good, will I still come away thinking ‘wow'?' And you do. It's reaching that balance of innovation, without going too quickly, where they perfect behind the scenes."
Restaurants with two or three stars join a world-class group, she added, explaining that those sites must also be capable of welcoming global visitors who demand high standards.
"Can your team deliver that?" she asked, before insisting that there were no set rules. "There isn't a piece of paper we can give to show people how to do it," she said.
Burr, who trained as a chef, worked as a Michelin inspector, and has edited the Guide since 2011, also confirmed that there are no quotas or target numbers for the selection. She said that the current UK restaurant scene was very good, and that choosing new stars was a diverse process that just "naturally evolves".
Michelin 2015: 14 new one-stars but no new two- or three-stars >>