Michelin Plate distinction, is it an award or a consolation prize?


Obtaining a Michelin star is a dream for many chefs and restaurateurs. But, is the new Michelin Plate distinction an award or a consolation prize?

Every year chefs, restaurateurs and foodies anxiously await the Michelin announcements. The coveted Michelin Star is an award that many chefs desperately seek. To obtain one star, let alone the pinnacle three stars, is recognition that only a few have achieved. But, the Michelin Guide has often had one aspect that left readers confused, a restaurant with no distinction. The Michelin Plate distinction hopes to alleviate that confusion.

In the select cities where Michelin publishes a guide, the restaurants looked for either a star or the Bib Gourmand. While stars are considered the ultimate prize, the Bib Gourmand is also a boost for any restaurant. The Bib Gourmand means that a guest can get a two course dinner, wine or dessert for under $40. These restaurants are some of the best bites in a city. Plus, the cost is quite affordable.

The Michelin Star is ultimate award that is met with much celebration. From one to three stars, these Michelin Stars can make a huge difference in a restaurant’s success. Many diners will travel to dine in these restaurants, reserve tables far in advance and brag to fellow foodies about the delicious experience.
(Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for New York Magazine)

For example, Alinea and Grace in Chicago have bookings months and months in advance. Even at the price, foodies are more than willing to spend the hundreds of dollars for the dining experience. From the ambiance to the impeccable food, the evening will be a memorable one.

Over the years, foodies have wondered about the restaurants that have no distinction in the Michelin Guide. The blank space by a restaurant’s name seemed strange for the prestigious guide. Michelin is now ending that confusion with the Michelin Plate distinction.

This new Michelin category will be marked by a plate next to a restaurant’s name in the guide. The L’Assiette Michelin, or Michelin Plate, will indicate that the restaurant has quality food. But, the restaurant didn’t earn the higher honor. The food at these restaurants are notable and the inspectors enjoyed the experience. The restaurant might be on the brink of the next award, but isn’t quite there yet.

For foodies, this new labeling isn’t a new award. Rather, it is a way to clarify that other restaurants have quality food, wine and overall experience. Hopefully, this labeling helps to expand foodies’ restaurant choices. For example, if you can’t get a reservation at Sepia or Fat Rice, maybe you can try one of the other Chicago restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide.

Next: Can you make prosecco doughnuts at home?

Who will get a Michelin award this year? Everyone will have to wait till the new guide is released. Whether the restaurant gets a Michelin Plate, Bib Gourmand or star, your dining reservation card might be full for months.