Video: Michelin restaurant guide celebrates 100th anniversary

The 2011 Michelin guide is a very special edition one because this year marks its 100th anniversary.

To celebrate this milestone, each guide comes with a booklet recounting the guide’s history.

Undated Handout photo of Heston Blumenthal.  See PA Feature FOOD Blumenthal.  PA Photo/ Handout

Undated Handout photo of Heston Blumenthal. See PA Feature FOOD Blumenthal. PA Photo/ Handout

The first Michelin guide to the British Isles was published in 1911, with the aim of helping intrepid motorists on their travels.

It was dark blue and largely instructional in nature, with information on road quality and how to change a tyre, as well as details on hotels and repair shops for the inevitable breakdowns.

Five editions were initially published, with a break for the First World War, followed by from 1922 to 1930. The current Great Britain & Ireland guide was launched in 1974 and has been published every year since.

In 2011, the guide continues to respond to the needs of its readers. It recommends a large and diverse selection of hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and pubs in all price categories and across every region of the UK and Ireland. The 1911 guide pointed out amenities such as central heating or electric light but in 2011 is more likely to highlight outstanding cooking and exceptional wine lists.

Editor in Chief Rebecca Burr said: “This centenary edition underlines the UK’s greatest strength which is the rich diversity and variety of its restaurants. The country embraces all kinds of restaurants and every type of cuisine and the public’s appetite shows no signs of abating.

“There is no doubt that 2010 was a difficult year but those hotels and restaurants that represented value for money, at whatever price, were the ones who were best placed to weather the storm. We found 12 new one star establishments and awarded 26 new Bib Gourmands which readers particularly appreciate for their moderate prices.”

Highlights in this year’s Guide include two new two-star restaurants, one with a French female chef and the other with a home-grown English chef at the helm: Hélène Darroze at The Connaught in London and Nathan Outlaw in Rock, Cornwall. Included in the list of new one stars is the Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, highlighting the fact that some of the best cooking can be found in our pubs. London continues to show off its diversity: new stars include the delicate, playful cooking of Viajante and the vibrant natural flavours found at Petersham Nurseries Café, its bucolic setting contrasting nicely with the ornate surroundings of Galvin La Chapelle, another recipient of a star.

Also published today is the MICHELIN guide London 2011, priced at £10.99 (€12.99 in Ireland). This guide provides extended text on London’s restaurants, with additional photographs and information on all starred establishments.