100 years after the first Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland was released, the region can boast the highest number of stars it has ever been awarded. There were no new stars for Scottish, Welsh, or Irish restaurants in the just-released 2011 edition, and ten establishments lost stars, yet the addition of 12 first stars to restaurants in England brings the total for the region to 143.
There are only four three-star restaurants in all of England — Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse, The Fat Duck and The Waterside Inn — and no new three-stars were added this year. Two stars were awarded to Cornwall-based chef Nathan Outlaw and London lady chef Hélène Darroze.
British critic Jay Rayner is sort of down on the Michelin Guide this year, saying the just-released 2011 edition is "certainly behaving like a stereotypical centenarian: gripped by the need for routine, fixed to its bath chair, smelling faintly of ointment and bodily fluids." Ouch? Rayner calls the guide "a dull squeak of irrelevance" while others say "the public's awareness of the Michelin star system has never been higher."
Despite declaring his indifference to the guide, Rayner does seem more than a little cranky that Gordon Ramsay's "beige" restaurant Petrus got its first star while some of his favorites were skipped over. Guess you can't make all the people happy all the time.