14 Jun 2019
Running a Michelin Star Restaurant: Is Culinary School Necessary?
If running a Michelin star restaurant is what you aspire to accomplish in the future, does going to culinary school open doors for you that may otherwise be closed? The question is if a talented and hardworking individual were to spend time in attaining a culinary degree or qualification, instead of spending that time working in a restaurant, will that individual be able to achieve more advanced positions and ultimately run a Michelin star restaurant in his or her lifetime?
Most tMichelin Star Ratingsop Michelin star chefs who are running such fine dining establishments will agree that there are definite benefits of going to a culinary school. Any aspiring chef looking to be a career-changer must get a qualification from a reputed culinary school.
Amongst the many benefits of culinary school, the most important one is that it gives the student certain mobility that the individual otherwise lacks. A lot depends on the individual’s endgame – do you want to be a chef cum restauranteur of an haute cuisine restaurant?
Importance of a Culinary Arts Qualification
Why study culinary arts has always been an ongoing debate for many who wish to take up culinary arts as a profession. However, the most appropriate answer to this question is – education. While the courses by itself are variable in nature, enrolling into a course helps to build the foundation of your professional career. As the course progresses, aspiring chefs learn to execute several dishes. Having a solid base will help all aspiring chefs to reach the pinnacle of being a Michelin star chef some day in the future.
Michelin Star Ratings
To be able to work in a Michelin star restaurant, you must understand how the system works. The process of attaining these worthy stars is an extremely secretive procedure performed by specially trained Michelin inspectors who anonymously visit restaurants and submit their reports, rating their service, décor and, of course, the cuisine.
To shortlist the restaurants worthy of the inspector’s visit, they will comb through websites, blogs and restaurant reviews in local magazines and newspapers. The rating is given on the basis of one to three stars. As per the Michelin guide, one star implies that the restaurant is very good in its category, two stars represent excellent cooking and are worthy of a detour and the third star defines the ultimate accolade and brings the restaurant on the forefront of exceptional cuisine that is worthy of a special journey.
Role of a Michelin Star Chef
The Michelin star is awarded to the restaurant; however, it the chef in charge who in reality is credited for it. So, what is a Michelin star chef?
The first step for those who hope to be a Michelin star chef must take a course from a reputed culinary school to learn the basics of the trade. The next step is to become a professional chef post completing the degree and work your way up the industry ladder. There are a number of stages such as Commi 3, Commi 2, Commi 1, working at the different kitchen stations. Chefs then move on to the first junior, then senior chef de partie and sous chef before one reaches the summit of being a Michelin star chef.
As an amateur, right out of culinary school, it is your passion and creativity that will speak on your behalf. The manner in which you blend flavors, the presentation of your dish, keeping your kitchen bench clean and hygienic are all critical factors that are taken into account.
Important Factors that help in becoming a Michelin Star Chef
To seek the star, it is best to start training under Michelin star chefs. It immensely helps in becoming a protégé of a chef who has already earned the respect of Michelin. Apart from that, you should also channelize these traits:
· Meticulousness: As a chef aiming to achieve a Michelin star for your restaurant, you have to treat every night as the night of a Michelin inspection. Every staff must be trained, should be able to work in collaboration to ensure that every diner’s experience is as extraordinary as possible.
· Discipline: To accomplish greatness, cooking is a never-ending pursuit for perfection. With tremendous discipline, only the best will make the cut to become Michelin’s future culinary icons.
· Mastery: To be a Michelin star chef, it is judicious to master cuisines that you are most comfortable with. Mastering specific techniques and cuisines will make you push the boundaries and proceed towards bolder and innovative directions.
· Creativity: To draw the interest of Michelin, you must be on the cutting edge of new food styles and be in persistent in your quest for brilliance fused with the determination to advance the envelope.
· Ingredients: This is the golden key that all great chefs wish to conform to. The greatest of Michelin star chefs have been known to personally source exceptional, difficult to locate ingredients. They harness the best of relationships with local farmers, bakers, cheese-makers, etc. and work with only the best products available that harmonize with the flavors of the dishes yet complimenting the merit of the fine dining experience.
· Consistency: Michelin star inspectors place a lot of value on the consistency of experience whilst evaluating a chef and by extension the restaurant before awarding it with the prestigious stars.
Therefore, it can be said that culinary school is the best possible route to one day running a Michelin star restaurant. With the hands-on experience that you receive during your years at the culinary school, will one day be useful in real-life situations in the kitchen.
IICA, New Delhi