Ambitious chefs and restaurants need to earn culinary awards from the most prestigious international awarding bodies to stand out as fine establishments. Since 1900, the Michelin guide has led the world in food and restaurant inspection. To be honored with Michelin stars has become the benchmark by which a restaurant's excellence is measured. Other respected and popular international awards include the Zagat guide awards, the James Beard Foundation awards and the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards.
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Michelin stars are the top international awards. If the restaurant you are eating in is a three-star Michelin restaurant, you will undoubtedly be enjoying your meal very much. Three stars are awarded to only the best restaurants, officially classified in the Michelin guide as "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey." Two stars and your restaurant is described as "excellent cuisine, worth a detour." One star simply says "very good cuisine in its category."
The Bib Gourmond is awarded to acknowledge the 95 percent of restaurants that don't have Michelin stars. It is an honorable commendation given by the Michelin inspectors to their favourite restaurants around the world that provide superior-quality dining experiences for moderate prices. Consulting the Bib Gourmond restaurants list in the Michelin guide is a reliable guarantee that you will find a high-quality restaurant in which you won't have to spend more than $60 per head.
The Zagat guide is an international guide to the some of the finest restaurants in America and the world. It also recognizes "average" restaurants, and all those in between, and commemorates them with an awards list. The list is compiled every year and includes categories like top food, top newcomer, best buys, most popular, winners by cuisine, top decor and top service. The last awards ceremony was held in London, "one of the best places to eat in the world," according to Tim Zagat.
The James Beard Foundation Awards
Time magazine describes the James Beard Foundation awards as "the Oscars of the food world." Like the Oscars, the awards showcase winners in all the most important categories -- for outstanding achievement in the pursuit of perfection in one's craft, outstanding restaurateur, outstanding chef, outstanding restaurant and more. What is special about these acknowledgements is they also include awards for other industry professionals, broadcast media, food authors and critics. These awards are a mark of excellence on any establishment.
The AA Hospitality Awards
The AA Hospitality Awards are attended by the some of the top food and beverage industry professionals from around the world. These awards are numerous in category, spanning the diversity of the business from excellence in the kitchen to excellence in the boardroom. An award given is dependent on significant improvements made in the business within the previous 12 to 18 months. AA also runs a prestigious rosette award system for chefs, where winning two is a sign of excellence.
S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards
Every year, an academy of influential leaders in the restaurant industry, from kitchen to newspaper to boardroom, deliberate on what restaurants will be considered the top 50 in the world. About 800 top industry professionals divide the world into 26 regions and appoint 31 members to each, forming councils through which they vote for their favorite establishments. The current best restaurant in the world is Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark.