MICHELIN Guide Green Star Awards

There’s a popular comedy show skit about a couple at a restaurant who won’t order the chicken until they know everything about it: its name (Colin), where its diet was sourced, where it lived and whether it had been happy. They even visit the farm to see for themselves before they will order. Such concern with everything down to the soil was considered laughable 15 years ago, but no one is laughing now. The earth is polluted, over-processed, full of chemicals and plastics, and needs immediate help. Dedicated people are coming to the rescue. 

Today, restaurateurs who earn The MICHELIN Guide’s annual Green Star award are serious environmentalists and humanitarians who serve as role models for multi-level sustainability practices. Not only do they hold their restaurants to high standards of ethically and environmentally sound practices, but, like the couple, they go directly to the source, working directly with growers and fishermen in order to ensure the highest quality of foods and services, grown sustainably and as naturally as possible, prepared with the highest ethical standards, served with minimal waste, and stored in ways that avoid non-recyclable materials.

The MICHELIN Guide was created in 1900 by the founders of the Michelin Tire Company in France, to encourage their rich automobile owners to tour the country (and need new tires) by sending food critics out to ‘test the market’ and make recommendations for only the best hotels and the best places to enjoy an outstanding meal, plus road maps and lots of advertising, all neatly packed into a complimentary travel-sized book. 

Since then, the MICHELIN Guide has become the singular standard of excellence to which restaurateurs aspire worldwide. The raters are anonymous. They will visit a restaurant several times within a year. There is no competition. Each restaurant is judged solely on its inspired dishes. A restaurant may be awarded as many as three Stars for excellence, but this is rare. Once a Star is earned, it may be removed the next year, so great care is taken to continue absolutely high standards. The only thing worse than not winning a star is to lose one.  

In 2020 the MICHELIN Guide added the Green Star award to highlight those restaurants that exemplify “sustainable gastronomy” in areas such as:

  • Ethical practices
  • Environmental standards
  • Working with sustainable producers 
  • Choosing sustainable suppliers
  • Avoiding waste
  • Reducing or removing plastic
  • Avoiding non-recyclable materials

These restaurateurs want to know where their ingredients come from, including spices. They want to know that their farmers are using regenerative measures and crop rotation. Some manage their own gardens and flocks, or do their own foraging. They try to use seasonal produce, leave a small footprint, and use the latest innovations in recycling and waste disposal. They want sustainability all the way through the supply chain. 

‘Green’ consciousness as the new normal for living is still a work in progress, and restaurants vary greatly, so Michelin has no set rules for what will earn the Green Star, nor do they have to have earned a regular Star. Any restaurant may apply or be nominated for consideration. To date there are only some 290 Green Star restaurants worldwide. Check out the current slate of Green Star restaurants