THE UNCONVENTIONAL BIRTH OF THE MICHELIN GUIDE
Gordon Ramsay, the British celebrity chef known for the passionate and mean way he tears apart subpar food, actually cried when his New York restaurant The London lost its prestigious two Michelin Stars last year, he told the Daily Mail.When your restaurant is awarded a Michelin Star, it is a sign that you've succeeded at the highest level as a chef. Two Stars and your restaurant is excellent. Three Stars and your restaurant is worth traveling to.And it's actually for that last reason, traveling, that the Michelin brothers Ándre and Édouard started the Michelin Guide in 1900. The French entrepreneurs had started a tire company 11 years earlier, and they decided that a ratings guide for hotels and restaurants would compel the limited number of drivers to use up their tires and buy more.
Yes, the Michelin that makes or breaks fine dining establishments around the world is the same Michelin that manufactures tires. "From an image standpoint, it certainly has helped as a halo for a tire brand. Because tires, of course, aren't the sexiest product," Tony Fouladpour, Michelin North America's director of corporate public relations, tells Business Insider. "The image of Michelin is that of a premium, high-quality brand. And some say that the Michelin Guide is the Bible of all dining guides," he says.Back when the Michelin brothers decided to start the guide at the turn of the 20th century, there were only around 2,200 cars in France, the government had yet to establish an extensive road system, and gasoline had to be purchased at select pharmacies.