Derek Bulmer, editor of Michelin's Great Britain & Ireland and London guides, has defended the concept of Michelin's "rising stars" in an exclusive interview with Caterersearch ahead of the guides' publication next week.
Michelin launched the rising stars, which identify restaurants that are in line for a first, second or third Michelin star in the future, five years ago. But with confusion over their meaning, a conversion rate of just 50% and chefs saying they are "dangling a carrot", the system has come under criticism.
However, Bulmer insisted that the rising star accolade has achieved its objective as a gauge of future talent for readers.
"The rising stars show readers who's at the top end of each category. It gives them a little bit more information," he explained.
"Since we introduced it, we have had a lot more reader feedback. Readers appreciate more information and they're the ones we create the guide for, so in those terms it has achieved its objective."
While Bulmer conceded that the ‘award' has been interpreted by chefs as another grade, something like ‘a star and a half', he stressed that's not the case.
"We know from the chefs that have got it that they almost treat it as another award which it isn't really," he said.
"It's just putting the spotlight on them. It's not an award as such; they haven't actually achieved anything yet."
By Kerstin Kühn
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