At 4pm on Monday the great and the good of hospitality will gather at the Hurlingham Club in London to discover which establishments are to be bestowed with stars in the Michelin Guide 2020.
The release of the 2019 Guide saw no new three-star presentations made, but it could be a different story come Monday and The Caterer asked a series of industry leaders to share their opinions on who might be celebrating on 7 October.
Richard Vines, Bloomberg’s chief food critic
I thought I had given up on making predictions about Michelin: The awards are so unpredictable and inconsistent, it's like trying to anticipate the next Trump tweet. But I was so blown away by a recent meal at Claude Bosi at Bibendum, I really have hopes Claude will win his third star. I am going back this weekend, before the announcement. There are lots of chefs and restaurants I would like to see awarded stars, including Perilla and Cornerstone [both in Hackney, London]. And I hope the time will come when Michelin will give a second star to John Williams at the Ritz [Mayfair, London].
Andy Hayler, food writer and restaurant critic for Elite Traveler magazine
Michelin stars are much beloved by chefs, partly because they have the power to significantly increase revenue; in one case that I am familiar with, one restaurant’s revenue more than doubled after it received its first star. It is also because, unlike many culinary baubles, Michelin stars cannot be bought by heavy marketing expenditure. The exact inspection process remains secret, and Michelin is inscrutable on the subject, adding to the air of mystery.
Will there be any change at the top of the Michelin tree, the three-star level? Mitsuhiro Araki has now returned to Tokyo, so will the restaurant that bears his name [in Mayfair, London] survive his departure? Many would debate whether Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester [Mayfair, London] or The Waterside Inn [Bray] are worth three stars – would they really get three stars in Paris? However Michelin are even slower to remove stars than to give them. Might an up and coming restaurant like Moor Hall be promoted? I would be happy to see a second star for the Ritz [Mayfair, London], or for Martin Wishart or Kitchin, both in Edinburgh or Adams in Birmingham, but Michelin have so far resolutely avoided recognising the quality of the food at these establishments. I suspect there will be relatively little change at the two- and three-star level, but we shall see. What is certain is that there will be new one-star entries from promising chefs around the country. I would hope to see a star for Endo at the Rotunda [White City, London], and also for Caractere [Notting Hill, London]. Kutir [Chelsea, London] and Da Terra [Bethnal Green, London] would seem likely candidates too.
There are other promising chefs around the UK that will be hoping that Michelin notice them. I would love to see a star for Steve Terry at the Hardwick in Wales, but I am not really expecting it. For me the Castle Terrace [Edinburgh] and Gauthier [Soho, London] are clearly star-worthy, as is the Scran and Scallie [Edinburgh], but Michelin thinks otherwise at present. As the great physicist Nils Bohr said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it is about the future.”
Ben McCormack, editor of SquareMeal.co.uk
Predicting Michelin stars is about as reliable an indicator of the future as astrology. It’s always been a mystery to me why a third star has yet to shine over L’Enclume and I suspect that if it hasn’t happened already for Simon Rogan, it never will. Alex Dilling has elevated The Greenhouse to an entirely new level of excellence and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this most bluechip of Mayfair dining rooms finally lifted to three-star status.
Gareth Ward’s startlingly individual vision for 21st-century fine dining at Ynyshir surely deserves promoting to two stars. And if anywhere demonstrates “excellent cooking that is worth a detour”, it has to be The Ritz, not only for John Williams’s food but the luxury of the setting, which is now unique in London in its old-world opulence – though Michelin of course maintains that the stars are awarded purely for the cooking. But I won’t hold my breath for the day when a star is given to a street-food outlet.
As for new one stars, Jackson Boxer’s cooking at Orasay is hands down the best food I’ve eaten at a new restaurant this year. And I’ve been deeply impressed by Imperial Treasure’s regal take on the classic Cantonese repertoire.
Robbie Bargh, founder Gorgeous Group
Michelin needs to be more relevant to the way we eat today. Whether somewhere is good or amazing will undoubtedly come down to the whole emotional experience. How it makes people feel. It is more than food. The guide needs to relate more to the needs and desires of the guest who go to restaurants today.
Who should/could/would like to get a Michelin star:
Mana, Manchester Awesome, more than a restaurant, a piece of Nordic razzle dazzle beautifully executed in one of the most unexpected locations ever in one of the best (and under-looked) cities in UK, Manchester!
Tom Kemble at The Pass Tom Kemble is a quiet genius, I love what he and his team are doing quietly up there on the South Downs.
The Diary, Clapham, London Can’t believe Robin Gill and his team in Clapham Common don’t have a star already. The food and more importantly the whole hospitality culture behind this restaurant make the whole experience magical.
Popolo, Shoreditch, London Jon Lawson and his team nightly pull out all the stops to wow you on every level. It may not fit the criteria in lots of ways but when it comes to delivering something quite magical it does with knobs on. Eating here is like your being truly entertained in chef Jon’s kitchen at home. Bliss.
Thom Hetherington, CEO Holden Media and Northern Restaurant and Bar
There is a still a slew of outstanding, unstarred restaurants across the North, but this year the region has also been blessed with an incredible string of launches. The question will be one of timing. The Angel at Hetton, Roots in York and Restaurant Hjem up in Wall are all producing the most incredible food, but will Michelin decide it is too early for them? Michael Wignall, Tommy Banks and Alex Nietosvuori all have a serious Michelin pedigree, and the red book has granted stars to newer launches elsewhere, so we shall see.
And Manchester, once again, will be the story, whether it gets a star or not. Assuming that Michelin are not up for turning as regards existing restaurants (such as Adam Reid and the brilliant French) the focus is on the newcomers. Mana, with chef Simon Martin, is absolutely exceptional, and it is difficult to see how Michelin could ignore it. But equally Exaneta has food deemed perfect by Exec Chef Paco Perez, who already holds five Michelin stars across three restaurants in Spain and Germany. Will Michelin be as consistent as he is?
And for me the final question is whether Michelin will finally plump for a three star restaurant outside of London and the South East. It is difficult to see, when benchmarked against some other three stars in the UK and abroad, what more L’enclume or Moor Hall could do to scoop the ultimate accolade. It would represent a vertiginous rise for Mark Birchall, who gained a second star only last year, whereas L’enclume have held two stars since 2013. For either, or both, it would seem a fair and justified reward.
Tom Kerridge of the Coach, the Butcher's Tap and the Hand and Flowers in Marlow and Kerridges Bar & Grill in London
Three stars for Claude Bosi at Bibendum in London’s Kensington and Core by Clare Smyth in Notting Hill, London Two stars for Paul Ainsworth at No 6, in Padstow
Daniel Clifford of Midsummer House, Cambridge
Three stars for Claude Bosi at Bibendum in Kensington, London Two stars Mickael Viljanen’s the Greenhouse, Dublin and Andrew Wong’s A.Wong, Pimlico, London One star for Tom Brown’s Cornerstone in Hackney, London and Sam Carter’s Restaurant 22 in Cambridge