A definitive guide of guides

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st September 2014
By Sara Williams

In the run up to the latest guidebooks' release date in September, we look at the dos and don’ts for the awards and the history behind them.

The Michelin Guide 

The History: Andre Michelin, the French industrialist, founded the tyre company with his brother Edouard in 1888. The Michelin Guide is a series of annual books, first published in 1974 to boost the demand for cars in France as there were fewer than 3,000 cars at the time. Boosting the demand for cars also boosted the demand for tyres. Nearly 35,000 copies were printed and given away free of charge containing all you need to know for motorists. How are the stars awarded? Michelin inspectors visit the premises once every 18 months; a star candidate will receive four visits, a two star restaurant receives ten visits before becoming a three star. The visits take place anonymously - the inspectors are on the road three weeks out of four.

One star indicates a very good restaurant in its category, offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard. A good place to stop on your journey.

Two stars denote excellent cuisine, skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality. Worth a detour. Three stars reward exceptional cuisine where diners eat extremely well, often superbly. Distinctive dishes are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients. Worth a special journey.  

The Good Food Guide

The Good Food Guide is a popular guide reviewing and writing about restaurants, pubs and cafes since 1951. The guide aims to bring together the best places to eat out from throughout the country and over the years they built up a meticulous, thoroughly comprehensive reporting system that casts a critical eye over Britain’s cafes, pubs, bistros and restaurants. Scoring Guidelines 1/10 – capable cooking, with simple food combinations and clear flavours, but some inconsistencies. 2/10 – decent cooking, displaying good basic technical skills and interesting combinations and flavours. Occasional inconsistencies. 3/10 – good cooking, showing sound technical skills and using quality ingredients 4/10 – dedicated, focused approach to cooking; good classical skills and high quality ingredients 5/10 – exact cooking techniques and a degree of ambition; showing balance and depth of flavour in dishes, while using quality ingredients 6/10 – exemplary cooking skills, innovative ideas, impeccable ingredients and an element of excitement 7/10 – high level of ambition and individuality, attention to the smallest detail, accurate and vibrant dishes 8/10 – a kitchen cooking close to or at the top of its game – highly individual showing faultless technique and impressive artistry in dishes that are perfectly balanced for flavour, combination and texture, there is little room for disappointment here. 9/10 – this mark is for cooking that has reached a pinnacle of achievement, making it hugely memorable experience for the diner. 10/10 – it is extremely rare that a restaurant can achieve perfect dishes on a consistent basis.  

The AA Restaurant Guide

The long established Rosette scheme recognises successful cooking at different levels across the UK. The success or failure in achieving Rosettes is based on one or more visits by AA inspectors. What makes a restaurant worthy of a Rosette Award? 1 Rosette: The restaurant achieves standards that stand out in their local area, they serve food prepared with care, understanding and skill, using good quality ingredients. 2 Rosettes: Excellent restaurants that aim for and achieve higher standards and better consistency. A greater precision is apparent in the cooking, and there will be obvious attention to the selection of quality ingredients. 3 Rosettes: Outstanding restaurants that achieve standards that demand recognition well beyond their local area. The cooking is underpinned by the selection and sympathetic treatment of the highest quality ingredients. Timing, seasoning and the judgement of flavour combinations will consistently be excellent. These virtues tend to be supported by other elements, such as intuitive service and well-chosen wine list. 4 Rosettes: Among the top restaurants in the UK, where the cooking demands national recognition. These restaurants exhibit intense ambition, a passion for excellence, superb technical skills, and remarkable consistency. They will combine appreciation of culinary traditions with a passionate desire for further exploration and improvement. 5 Rosettes: The pinnacle, where cooking compares with the best in the world. These restaurants have highly individual voices, exhibit breath-taking culinary skills, and set standards to which others aspire to, yet few achieve.  

Hardens Logo CropppedHarden’s Guide

Harden’s Guide is a restaurant guide written by ordinary people, covering everything from the best fish and chips shops to great gastropubs to perfect little restaurants and to the grandest temples of haute cuisine. Harden's was established by brothers Richard and Peter Harden, who still run the business today, in 1991.The first publication, Harden's London Restaurants, is the longest-established pocket guide to London restaurants. In 1998 a companion UK guide was published. Every spring the guide invites everyone who registers to take part in a survey. The reviews in the guides are based on a careful analysis of reporters' opinions – some 85,000 reports annually. They compare each restaurant’s performance and judged by the average grades awarded by the reporters in the survey. Ratings: F: Food S: Service A: Ambience 1: Exceptional 2: Very Good 3: Good 4: Average 5: Poor  

Look out for the new guides released throughout September.


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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st September 2014

A definitive guide of guides