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How to get a Michelin star

The annual Michelin awards are always greeted with rapture by the popular press in spite of the fact that probably only 1% of its readers have ever eaten in a Michelin-starred restaurant. This does not stop ambitious young chefs setting their sights on earning stars for their restaurant at whatever cost. But who can tell them how to go about it?

A few years ago, if we wanted to make a bomb we would have to find a friendly anarchist or ex-military guy. Today it is as simple as digging down into the dark web using Tor, and we find thousands of how-to pages. But nothing is guaranteed and if our neophyte efforts result in the bomb exploding unpredictably there is no-one to make a claim on - if indeed we are still around to do so.

In the same way there are websites telling us how to earn Michelin stars. Not exactly rocket science or brain surgery, mainly common sense, but from personal experience it often seems that many chefs are not too well endowed in that particular department. Start off with social media and make as much noise about the restaurant as possible, organise events for local groups that will appear in the printed media and radio. Eventually something will come to Mr Michelin's attention, and the restaurant will be put on the Guide's watch list. Some time later there will be a visit from an inspector. You probably won't even know. Could it be that man eating alone, that couple, or even those two ladies together? You may not notice the second or third visit either. The Belgian edition revealed it had visited La Paix, Brussels, 12 times, and the Sea Grill eight - in the same year.

There are no Michelin chefs, only Michelin restaurants. Roughly 50% of a star's value will be decided on the quality of the food, the remainder on the service, the surroundings, the tableware, wine list, loos, etc. So all these items have to be impeccable, as indeed should be the restaurant's website and Facebook page. There are no short cuts - and no guarantees either.