This year's Michelin star results have signalled a new direction for the North East, according to chef Kenny Atkinson, whose House of Tides in Newcastle won a new star.
He also congratulated the Man Behind the Curtain chef Michael O'Hare, whose Leeds site was also announced as a new star this year, the only other restaurant in the North of England to appear.
Overall, Michelin 2016 listed two new two stars (for Araki and Umu in London's Mayfair), and 15 new one stars across the UK and Ireland.
Speaking to The Caterer, Atkinson said England's northern cities were changing and growing, becoming more interesting and ready to welcome Michelin stars as a result.
He said: "I think the North has been overlooked for a long time, [but] I think it would be very unfair to say that Michelin has ignored the North. I think they've been asking, is Newcastle or Leeds ready for a star?
"I can only speak for Newcastle, but I'd say that now, the city is changing and growing, and it's a great place to be. It's very vibrant, and that gave us confidence to open in Newcastle. I think more [success] will follow across the North East in general. I think if the product is good and consistent, Michelin will notice."
Atkinson, who had worked at Michelin-starred establishments including St Martin's on the Isle and Kenny Atkinson at the White Room at Seaham Hall before opening the House of Tides in February 2014, said winning the mention for his own restaurant was "sweeter".
He said: "It's hard to put into words. When you work in restaurants and hotels and you cook a certain style of food, and it's expected, you're paid to achieve that. It's always been good [to get a star], but if you look at the love we've had from our guests and on social media [for House of Tides], it's been great. To get this in 18 months is the absolute cherry on the cake."
He was careful to point out that the restaurant is still young and would be staying true to its original ideals, including, he said, getting the "food to a good level, in a relaxed environment, that wasn't pretentious or stuffy, at the right price point".
He added: "We can't get carried away; the expectation is going to be double now, so we need to be more consistent than ever. We just need to continue with what we're doing."
Michelin has historically received criticism for its lack of stars in the North of England, with last year and this year notably failing to mention any Manchester establishments. However, guide editor Rebecca Burr has always maintained that the selection does not favour any area in particular and will always award stars where the food is consistently of the correct standard.