The Luxury Restaurant Club delves into the Michelin Guide’s archives to trace their culinary history for every star-holder since its first publication in the UK back in 1974.

We research two intriguing documents: Michelin Guide Star History London & Michelin Guide Star History Rest of UK which charts a year by year award account, by restaurant, so you can easily retrace your favourite location’s pedigree. Both documents are also poignant statements of skill and quality over the years, reflecting the growing interest with different types of cuisines and restaurants, quality of ingredients and the clamour to attain status from restaurateurs.

rouxs
Michel Snr and Albert Roux, two of the original 26 Michelin star-holders from 1974

They uncover the very slow progress of gastronomy in GB and Ireland – in 1974 there were just 26 Michelin star restaurants, all one star, and by 1986 this had only risen to 28. Chefs battled to use fresh ingredients until such figureheads as Albert Roux and Raymond Blanc made it compulsory. Their training of disciplined and skilled chefs such as Marco Pierre White and Gary Rhodes only started to be seen from the mid 80’s onward. Since then the industry has now grown six-fold (592.31%), yet still accounts for less than 0.25% of the restaurant industry as a whole in the UK.

1974 2018
Michelin level No % No %
One Star 26 100.00% 155 86%
Two Star 0 0.00% 20 11.11%
Three Star 0 0.00% 5 2.78%

The sector has responded significantly to cultural influences and trends, particularly in the types of establishments/ restaurant styles. The trend towards a more relaxed and non -intimidating style has seen far more informal dining environments. This alongside the initial cheapness for chefs to convert pubs has led to a gastro-explosion, particularly in rural locations. Whilst in London and urban areas the innovative use of spaces and less select districts continues to attract a wider audience of consumer from every walk of life.

1974 2018
Type of Establishment No % No %
Hotels 5 19.23% 44 24.44%
Freehouses and pubs 2 7.69% 28 15.56%
Independent restaurants 19 73.08% 108 60%

Measuring cuisine types was easy in 1974 as the industry was heavily influenced by French haute cuisine, with the exception of Wilton’s fish restaurant, Simpsons in the Strand fine British cuisine, and the delightful inclusion of Lee Ho Fook, a Chinese restaurant in Soho which held a star for a year.

(PHCsi-13) Reception and Main Hall c1989-min
Simpson’s in the Strand – Reception and Main Hall circa 1989 – it gained a Michelin star in the first publication year only

Defining cuisine types in 2018 is far more complex, as food has become more diverse and fluid, influenced by chefs experiences, use of wider ingredients together with the cultivation of UK palates. 2018 offers far more ethnic restaurants: Japanese cuisine has 1 three star (The Araki), 1 two star (Umu) and 1 one star (Ichigo Ichie in Cork). Indian cuisine has 5 one stars (Quilon, Veeraswamy, Gymkhana, Benares and Amaya). Chinese has 5 one stars (Hakkasan Hanaway Place, Hakkasan Mayfair, Kai, A.Wong, Yautacha). Spanish has 3 one stars (Barrafina, Sabor and Paco Tapas in Bristol). West African has 1 one star (Ikoyi). Scandinivian offers 2 one stars (Aquavit, Texture). Italian 3 one stars (Murano, River Cafe, Locanda Locatelli). All other restaurants fall into Modern British, European, French, Fusion influences or pure concept, such as seafood restaurants.

CON_Exterior_Entrance_2-min
The Connaught, one of the original London hotels to attain Michelin status in the Guide’s first publication in 1974

Some other facts that piqued our interest from the charts were:

  • Manchester had one of the first Michelin stars in 1974 and 1975 at The French in The Midland Hotel but the city has not attained one since
  • The first two Michelin stars didn’t come until 1977 when Le Gavroche and the Connaught attained them in London, and The Waterside Inn in Bray and The Box Tree in Ilkley gained them for outside London
  • The first three stars were attained by Albert Roux (pictured) Le Gavroche in 1982
  • The first three stars for outside London were attained by The Waterside Inn in 1985
  • Cities such as Brighton, Peterborough and Liverpool have yet to attain a Michelin star
  • Michel Roux Snr (pictured) has the longest retained three Michelin stars in the UK at The Waterside Inn, held since 1985, with two Michelin stars held for 8 years prior, and one star for the 3 years to 1974. This makes The Waterside Inn the most successful Michelin rated establishment in the UK
vb98702_RoyalHospitalRoad_exterior_01 1-min
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, the longest held three Michelin-starred restaurant in London
  • Restaurant Gordon Ramsay has the longest held three Michelin star achievement in London, held since 2001 (19 years). Alongside his Petrus restaurant, which has retained one star since 2011, and his former star at Maze, makes him the most successful British born Michelin starred chef in the UK
box tree BR5-min
Box Tree in Ilkley has held one star for 30 years and two stars for 10 years but lost its star this year

Retrace your favourite restaurant’s award history using the following Michelin links here:

Michelin restaurants London

Michelin restaurants Rest of UK

https://www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Restaurants

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Posted by:Luxury Restaurant Guide

Luxury Restaurant Guide is the place to discover and book the finest dining experiences at all highly awarded restaurants throughout the UK. A must-visit site and FREE app for all food lovers. Subscribe to the Club, the largest fine dining club in the UK from just £10 per month, to receive instant rewards, insights and invitations from over 500 leading restaurants.

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