Joël Robuchon's Michelin Star Record Still Hasn't Been Broken

Food worth traveling for is what defines the restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide. While some chefs work their whole lives to earn just one star, Joël Robuchon collected an incredible number of Michelin Stars throughout his career. Despite his passing in 2018, he still holds the record for most awarded Michelin Stars, although there are some top contenders. 

Originally published in 1900, the Michelin tire company created a guide intended to increase demand for automobiles (and their tires!), notes Escoffier. Far from its humble beginnings, the guide is now dedicated to fine dining, ranking restaurants based on the quality of the products, a chef's mastery of flavor and techniques, a culinary chef's personality, and consistency between visits, reports Food Network

Before sending an inspector, the Michelin Guide team investigates blogs, newspapers, and websites before selecting which restaurants should be reviewed. Michelin Guide explains that highly-trained anonymous inspectors are sent to visit the establishment several times before compiling a report on the experience that's then presented and discussed with the team. 

Travel + Leisure breaks down the hierarchy from least to most prestigious starting with the Michelin Plate ("restaurants with quality food"), Bib Gourmand ("quality food at a valued price"), One Michelin Star ("a very good restaurant"), Two Michelin Stars ("excellent cooking, worth a detour"), and Three Michelin Stars ("exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey"). The Guide also recently created The Michelin Green StarThe Michelin Green Star recently, which recognizes sustainable restaurants.

It's tough to top 30

Dubbed the "Chef of the Century" by the Guide Gault Millau, Smithsonian Magazine reports that Joël Robuchon received a total of 32 Michelin Stars over his career — the greatest number of stars awarded in the world. 

Known for elevating simple cuisine like his world-renowned buttery mashed potatoes, Robuchon published several cookbooks, hosted culinary shows, and served on the committee of the Larousse Gastronomique throughout his career, states The New York Times. With more than 20 restaurants in countries like France, Thailand, and the United States, the chef was a mentor to many, even Gordon Ramsay. 

Even though Robuchon's record remains hard to top, there are a few chefs that might match it one day. French chef Alain Ducasse has accumulated 21 Michelin Stars, followed by English chef Gordon Ramsay with 16; French chef Pierre Gagnaire with 14; Spanish chef Martin Berasategui with 12; Yannik Alleno with 10; and French chef Anne-Sophie Pic with eight stars (via Boneta). 

Currently, there are over 2,800 restaurants around the globe that have Michelin Star designation, with most from France, followed by Japan and Italy, notes Luxe Digital. With increasing competition, achieving designation can seem like a distant dream, but if all the constellations align, a talented chef will also top 30, like Joël Robuchon.