A Michelin star is a quality rating given to restaurants around the globe. While most people have heard the term “Michelin star”, not everyone knows where this name comes from.
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In 1900, a guide was published by the Michelin brothers, André and Édouard, to help drivers while touring France. This guide included information about filling stations, mechanics, lodgings and places to eat. The Michelin brothers were not, as you may think, food enthusiasts. They were the founders of the giant tire manufacturer Michelin, based in France.
In 1926, anonymous reviews of restaurants were made and the star system was born, along with the now famous Michelin Red Guide. The guide awards 1 to 3 stars to a handful of high quality restaurants in 22 countries, visited regularly by trained professional experts. One star indicates “a very good cuisine in its category”. Two stars mean “excellent cuisine, worth a detour”. And finally, three stars are awarded when a restaurant has “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”.
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Restaurants awarded with Michelin stars are usually very expensive, so a feature called Bib Gourmand has been created, highlighting restaurants that offer good food at moderate prices. A final piece of trivia for you: Bib comes from Bibendum, or the company's nickname for the Michelin Man.
If you want to indulge yourself (and are able to), here's a link to the 20 most Michelin-starred cities in the world. Bon appétit!