Michelin Snubs Noma as Other Nordic Restaurants Get Stars

Michelin Guide, Main Cities of Europe
The Michelin Guide for the Main Cities of Europe 2012. The book includes the Nordic region, Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Poland, as well as France and other countries that have their own volumes. Source: Michelin via Bloomberg

Noma failed to win a third Michelin star today as the French dining guide snubbed the Copenhagen establishment of chef Rene Redzepi that has for two years held the title of the World’s Best Restaurant.

Two venues went straight to two stars: Silvio Nickol Gourmet Restaurant, in Vienna; and Maaemo, in Oslo. In Copenhagen, Den Roede Cottage, Geranium, Groenbech & Churchill and Relae won their first stars, as did Funky Gourmet and Galazia Hytra in Athens, Prague has two new one-stars: Alcron and Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise. Bagatelle, Oslo, regained its first star.

Noma won its second star in 2007, and attention has focused on whether it would win a third since it was named World’s Best Restaurant in 2010. (I head the U.K. and Ireland panel for those awards.) The guide to the Main Cities of Europe covers more than 3,600 establishments, most already cited in national volumes.

“We were one of the first guides to recognize Noma and the talent of Rene Redzepi,” Rebecca Burr, the guide’s editor, said today in a telephone interview. “But Noma is measured against other restaurants across the world. We’ve made visits this year and I’ve been myself, and we are confident in our decision.”

That decision means Noma is ranked at the same level as, for example, the Hand & Flowers, a British pub. Burr rejected such comparisons and said Michelin doesn’t make them.

All About Food

“It’s like there’s an endless campaign for one particular restaurant but there are many good places,” she said. “You can win stars for a formal French restaurant, for a sushi bar, for a pub or a brasserie. The stars are about the food and that’s what helps make the guide so interesting.”

Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey; two are for excellent cooking, worth a detour; one denotes a very good restaurant in its category.

Redzepi will learn on April 30 if he has retained his best-restaurant award for a third year at a ceremony in London.

The Michelin guide to the Main Cities of Europe will go on sale tomorrow. It includes the Nordic region, Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Poland, as well as France and other countries that have their own volumes.

Clermont-Ferrand, France-based Michelin is the world’s second-biggest tiremaker, after Bridgestone Corp. The company published its first guide in August 1900, distributed free of charge (until 1920) and intended for chauffeurs. France is the last of the 2012 national guides to be published.

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)

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