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Michelin stars can be a double-edged sword, say winners

12 January 2009 by
Michelin stars can be a double-edged sword, say winners

With just more than a week until the 2009 Michelin guide is released, restaurateurs have warned that winning a Michelin star can be a double-edged sword.

The Michelin guide for Great Britain and Ireland will be released on Wednesday 21 January and hopes are high that, unlike last year, the top accolades of two or even three stars will be awarded.

However, winning a star presents both pros and cons, according to some of last year's winners.

Anthony Demetre, chef proprietor of London restaurants Arbutus and Wild Honey, said that, while any accolade is good for business, Michelin is particularly beneficial.

"Michelin is seen as the ultimate accolade and not just by the industry but by consumers as well," he said.

"The guide's well-publicised, and continuing international expansion has created a much wider audience."

However, Sriram Aylor director and executive chef at Indian restaurant Quilon, told Caterersearch he had experienced both the positive and negative effects of winning a star.

"It was a fantastic honour and such a surprise to win a star, and it's raised our profile tremendously not just in the UK but internationally too," he said. "But now there's a lot of pressure as customers have high expectations and that can be a challenge at times."

Stephen Harris, head chef at the Sportsman in Whitstable, Kent, said that winning a Michelin star as a pub generated a lot of media attention.

"But it has also meant that we now attract diners who expect a certain level of service and formality associated with Michelin-starred establishments," he added.

"They complain when they don't find this at the Sportsman but we're a pub, not a fine dining restaurant, and some customers don't understand that Michelin is very much about the food and no longer about white tablecloths."

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By Kerstin Kühn

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