Michelin & Cie. announces its stars for U.K. restaurants on Jan. 19 and kitchens are buzzing.
The first predictions started as long ago as Nov. 21 on the chefs' Web site http://www.thestaffcanteen.com/. Only Gordon Ramsay has three stars in London while eight other places have two. Michelin last year earmarked Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester for a possible third star and the Ledbury for a second.
Those two restaurants, together with Launceston Place, L'Anima, Texture and the Greenhouse were among the favorite picks when I asked chefs and restaurateurs to say which venues they felt most deserved stars this time round:
Tom Aikens (Tom Aikens): "Tristan Welch deserves a star at Launceston Place. The Ledbury should get a second. Antonin Bonnet at the Greenhouse deserves a second for his talent and consistency."
Jason Atherton (Maze): "Brett (The Ledbury) should get a second star and I'd like to see the Square go up to three. No reason Tristan (Welch) shouldn't get a star at Launceston Place. It's crazy that Texture hasn't got a star. Definitely L'Anima."
Sat Bains (Restaurant Sat Bains): "Maze for two stars. I had a great meal there in November, and two for the Ledbury."
Antonin Bonnet (The Greenhouse): "The Ledbury will probably get a second star. The feedback I've been hearing about the restaurant has been fantastic."
Claude Bosi (Hibiscus): "Antonin Bonnet at the Greenhouse deserves a second, and L'Anima should get its first. Texture is also overdue."
Richard Corrigan (Corrigan's Mayfair): "Mark Hix deserves to have three stars and then he can let me borrow one."
Anthony Demetre (Arbutus): "Theo Randall should get one star. Also Roka in Charlotte Street, as Nic Watt epitomizes the new generation of Pacific Rim cooking."
Sanjay Dwivedi (Zaika): "Tom (Aikens) is going to get his second and Shane (Osborn at Pied a Terre) deserves three. The Ledbury should get its second."
Brett Graham (The Ledbury): "I think Michelin will give two stars to The Greenhouse this year."
Skye Gyngell (Petersham Nurseries): "I'd place a bet on Corrigan Mayfair getting a star and I'd like to see Umu awarded a second."
Henry Harris (Racine): "I'd imagine Corrigan would get a star. That would be my tip. L'Anima would be looking at a star. I've eaten Francesco's food and it's beautiful."
Mark Hix (Hix): "Corrigan's Mayfair. He's set up shop off posh Park Lane and deserves to take his star with him. If Michelin does something unpredictable, my crystal ball says Bocca di Lupo, Barrafina or Terroirs."
Philip Howard (The Square): "I would like Adam Byatt at Trinity to get a star. The Ledbury should get another. I'd be certain that Marcus Wareing is being looked at for a third."
Pierre Koffmann (ex-Tante Claire): "The best meal I've had was with you at Hibiscus and I really enjoy the Ledbury. I also had a very good meal at Le Gavroche. It's strange Texture doesn't have a star, and La Petite Maison, too. And we had a very good meal at L'Anima."
Jeremy Lee (Blueprint Cafe): "I wish we had our own stars. It's irritating having a French travel guide dictating the way we cook. Phil Howard at the Square should get his third and dear Michel (Roux) at Le Gavroche should get his third restored."
Rowley Leigh (Le Cafe Anglais): "Haven't a clue although I hope the Ledbury does well."
Bruno Loubet (Bistro Bruno Loubet): "Texture deserves a star. I'm surprised it didn't get one last year."
Francesco Mazzei (L'Anima): Claude Bosi deserves to have a third star at Hibiscus, and Launceston Place should get one star. I expect Ducasse will get his third."
Thomasina Miers (Wahaca): "The Ledbury should get its second. I had my most memorable meal of 2009 there. Richard Corrigan's cooking has been extremely good, too."
Russell Norman, Polpo: "Michelin is less relevant than ever. I had a pretentious meal at Ducasse that left me craving real food and honesty. I suppose we'll see the Square getting its rising third and Marcus Wareing and Hibiscus might get their rising thirds."
Shane Osborn (Pied a Terre): "Brett at the Ledbury should get his second. Francesco at L'Anima is also doing outstanding food and should get a star, as should Tristan at Launceston place. Texture has been consistently good. It wouldn't surprise me if Hibiscus went to three rising. Marcus Wareing is likely to get three, next year if not this. Corrigan will get a star."
Gary Rhodes (Rhodes Twenty Four): "Tristan Welch used to work for me at City Rhodes and he had brilliant potential, which he has fulfilled at Launceston Place. I'd love to see him get a star and to see Le Gavroche get its third star back and I'd love to see Marcus Wareing get his third star."
Michel Roux Jr. (Le Gavroche): "I hope Zuma will finally get one. I'm a fan. I'd presume Ducasse will get his third. Launceston Place for one. It's unbelievable the Greenhouse hasn't got a second star. I had a meal there recently and it was nearer a three than a two. Corrigan should get one."
Agnar Sverrisson (Texture): "The Greenhouse definitely deserves a second star because of the style of cooking, and also Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons should get a third star."
Mitch Tonks (Seahorse): "I'd like to see Michelin recognizing some more informal places such as Bocca di Lupo. They should have one and Arbutus should be a two star. Chefs who aren't at their restaurants shouldn't have stars."
Brian Turner: "The Ritz should definitely get its first star. Emotionally, I'd love to see Le Gavroche get its third back and Angela Harnett (Murano) deserves an upgrade."
Marcus Wareing (Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley): "I hope there will be lots of shiny new stars but I hope they take some away as well. It's only fair there should be deletions to keep up the standards." Anyone in mind? "No."
Tristan Welch (Launceston Place): "L'Anima deserves a star. I haven't got a bad word to say about it. The Ledbury should get its second and Texture deserves a star, too."
Ed Wilson (Terroirs): Galvin at Windows has to be a serious contender this year. Although I haven't eaten at the Eastside Inn, I'm sure with his previous history with Michelin, Bjorn van der Horst will probably get a star."
(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Bloomberg News.)