The delayed ceremony dished out green stars for ethical restaurants this year as well as the usual spanglers
After the year the hospitality industry has had, the announcement of Michelin’s new stars, plates and bib gourmands was bittersweet and there were more tears than previous years.
Delayed four months by the pandemic, in a year when other guides were cancelled completely, it’s amazing that it happened at all. But we’re glad it did. Now more than ever, chefs and restaurants deserve a bit of good news.
There is a new award, the green star, which has been introduced to reward restaurants with a strong ethical and environmental focus
Many will be wondering how Michelin have been able to judge restaurants fairly during a time of lockdown restrictions for most of the country. It says it has been working on the guide since August 2019 so had already laid a lot of groundwork before the lockdown in March 2020. Usually published in October, the guide has been pushed back several months and only appears in digital format this year.
However, Michelin insists that ‘no shortcuts were taken’ either in methodology or standards when preparing this year’s guide.
Launching the 2021 guide and awarding stars now was imperative for Michelin ‘to celebrate the many amazing restaurants in Great Britain & Ireland and all the hugely talented chefs and restaurateurs… to shine a light on our industry, to keep people talking about it in the media’.
Sometimes accused of being a stuffy old boys club, Michelin is keen to remain relevant. Earlier in the year, a Michelin star was awarded to an entirely vegan restaurant in France - ONA (Origine Non Animale) - for the very first time. The guide now also has a brand new app.
This year it also aims to recognise the other parts of the supply chain from butchers to cheesemakers and ‘the great work being done in sustainable gastronomy’. There is a new award, the Green Star, which has been introduced to celebrate restaurants with a strong ethical and environmental focus from their choice of products to their waste management. Michelin says these restaurants also 'go beyond environmental considerations to address the quality of life of their staff, as well as contributing to local, national or global charity and education projects'.
Green Stars went to 23 restaurants including Tommy Banks’ Black Swan at Oldstead, Simon Rogan's L'Enclume in Cartmel, Hypha in Chester and Sam Buckley's Where The Light Gets In, Stockport.
The revelation ceremony was hosted by Davina McCall along with a video linked Gwendal Poullennec (Michelin’s International Director). Much focus was on chefs and hospitality professionals doing good during the pandemic. Chefs and restaurateurs up and down the country have put excess food that might have gone to waste to good use by feeding people working on the front line, hospital patients and their families, and people affected by food poverty in their local areas. Michelin also commended the way restaurants have adapted by doing things like delivering cook at home meal kits or becoming temporary grocery stores.
This year Michelin has partnered with Street Smart whose mission is to fight homelessness in the UK. Normally it raises funds by asking diners to add a small donation to restaurant bills but this has not been as possible this year.
So who won awards in the North West?
One star was awarded to:
Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire
No new two or three-star awards or bib gourmands were dished out to northern restaurants this time.
Congratulations to all those commended in such a difficult year.