What Is A Michelin Green Star And Why Is It So Difficult To Get?

The Michelin Guide is the go-to for many in search of a good meal, and for the longest time, restaurant recommendations were made according to a three-star system: one star meant a restaurant was "very good in its category"; two stars meant the cooking was considered "excellent" and "worth a detour," and three stars was a shoutout for "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey," per Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. Then, in 1955, the Michelin Bib Gourmand was added, which highlighted good food at value price points, and more recently, there was a Michelin Plate designation, where inspectors found "food worthy of a mention," per Insider.

But there is one designation that the Michelin guide began in 2020 and which began appearing in guides not long after. The Michelin Green Star is given to establishments for reasons that may not have been considered to be Michelin criteria in the past. Other than serving outstanding food, these restaurants must be clear about their sustainability policy and resource management practices. In articulating the standards for achieving a Green Star, the Michelin Guide only said its inspectors were looking for "a strong commitment to sustainable gastronomy.

Thus far, it has been awarded to 300 restaurants around the world, with chef-and-restaurant recipients including Thomas Keller at The French Laundry and Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, per Michelin Guide.

Getting a Green Star involves embracing sustainable practices

In order for a restaurant to get a Green Star, it must already be in the guide, as a starred establishment, a plate, or Bib Gourmand, per Time Out. But the journey to a Michelin Green Star takes a restaurant beyond serving an outstanding meal in a memorable setting.

Chef Mark Birchall's establishment Moor Hall, identified its use of organic farming, moves to reduce waste, and the provenance of its ingredients as three of the reasons why the restaurant received a Michelin Green Star. "Sustainability is part of our philosophy at Moor Hall. Our menus are inspired by the local surroundings and home-grown seasonal ingredients. We let the local character shine through in of our dishes and we don't compromise on the health of the planet to do it," Birchall says.

French chef, Florent Pietravealle of La Mirande, tells the United Nations that a Green Star means using a method of sourcing ingredients that controls CO2 emissions and which "respects the seasons."

And during his award ceremony, Thomas Keller said: "We have to think about sustainability in several different ways. One, of course, is the ingredients that we use in our restaurants. What's also important is the sustainability of the communities. Our job is to work with them and to support them," per Michelin Guide.