Can you explain the work of Michelin?
We are the most recognised restaurant guide in the world. Our stars are considered the highest accolade in the industry. We have teams of full-time inspectors worldwide, whose job it is to visit existing Michelin restaurants, but also to locate potential new venues. Our inspectors eat lunch and dinner every day in different restaurants. This equates to 220 - 250 meals a year!
What's the history behind Michelin?
Originally the Michelin guide was created as a guide for the travelling folk of France. Its sole purpose was to direct them to garages which stocked Michelin tyres. Over the years this has grown, and now 28 countries have a Michelin guide.
How many people do you employ?
This really varies, as we have admin staff, writers, and, of course, inspectors. Off the top of my head I couldn't put a number to the total.
How do you select your inspectors?
Our inspectors are normally selected from the industry, and are predominately from a chef background or the wine business. However, they will all receive formal training.
How do inspectors protect their identity?
We have a large team, so we mix up the inspectors!
Can you break down the process in your own words?
The process of selecting and awarding stars is very involved indeed. Our inspectors are on the ground finding new venues, but we also follow up recommendations from chefs and readers. We would never make a decision based on another guide. After some initial research, we would then decide if we need to visit.
Some restaurants are so in-demand, how do your inspectors get a table?
We go through the same booking process as everyone else - we just persevere on the phone!
How do you think restaurant standards have changed over the years?
Standards in restaurants haven't changed a great deal - people still demand good quality food. Styles of cuisine have changed, though.
Have Michelin standards changed?
We haven't changed our standards. But we do have to change with the ever-evolving world of food. We just observe the industry and adapt.
Gordon Ramsay's 'Petrus' or 'Maze'?
Heston Blumenthal's 'Dinner' or 'Fat Duck'?
Both are amazing!
Jason Atherton's 'Social Eating House' or 'City Social'?
Social Eating House
The Galvins' 'Windows' or 'La Chapelle'?
A tough one, too close to call
The Roux 'Waterside Inn' or 'Le Gavroche'
Please don't make me choose! I just can't say which is better!