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A record year for 2020 Michelin Guide, UK & Ireland

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There were new restaurants in all three categories as Michelin announced new stars for 2020, reports Tina Nielsen

The 2020 Michelin Guide for UK and Ireland represents a record-breaking year as a record number of the coveted stars were handed out at an award-ceremony in London this week.

In all, there were 23 new restaurants receiving one star, taking the total number of one star restaurants in the UK and Ireland to 159. Four chefs collected two stars, three of them promoted from one star and one entering the guide with two stars straight away. Finally, one new restaurant, Sketch in London, received three stars, awarded to restaurants that offer exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.

“Running a successful restaurant is tough, and we know that. It takes long hours, dedication, teamwork and the support of those people closest to you. I congratulate all the teams and chefs who have won and retained Michelin stars in the 2020 guide,” said Rebecca Burr, director of the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland.

The Michelin Guide, coveted by many chefs as the standard in restaurant awards, is often criticised for a heavy bias towards male chefs and the 2020 guide did little to dispel those complaints as all the new stars were collected by men.

Five three-star restaurants

Receiving three stars, chef Johannes Nuding collected the award with Pierre Gagnaire who oversees the kitchen at The Lecture Room & Library at Sketch. The restaurant takes the total number of three stars in the guide to five.

“This Pierre Gagnaire restaurant won its first star in 2005 and its second in 2013. Our inspectors judge the cooking here to be wonderfully complex and highly original, with each element of the meal excelling in terms of structure, composition and, above all, flavour,” said Gwendal Poullennec,  international director of the Michelin guides. 

Culinary excitement in the regions

Arguably the big story of the evening was the number of awards given to restaurants outside cities. The Lake District was among the winners on the night with three restaurants in the region gaining one star and other new recipients included Pensons in Tenbury Wells where chef Lee Westcott, formerly of the Typing Room in London, now cooks.

Westcott referred to the bounty of vegetables and plants available to him in his new location which comes with 1,200 acres of arable land. “As a chef it is like paradise because you can get everything you want,” he said.

The interest in adopting a more sustainable approach is a driver for many of the chefs who decide to set up outside the cities, according to Poullennec. “The number of restaurants successfully opening outside of London is a very interesting trend to follow. They are so dedicated to what they do. Working with a clear vision of what kind of food they want to offer and what experience they want to give the customer. They have a long-term vision – when you talk about sustainability you talk long term. Globally, this is one of the main trends, sustainability all the younger generations care about this,” he said.

“I think the sustainability comes together with leaving the cities. It’s about going back to the earth and where the produce comes from, maybe a quest for more balance in life too.”

Ireland celebrates again

Among the city-based restaurants the big news was for Mana in Manchester, which brought a star back to the city for the first time in 40 years. In London there were four new one-star awards, down from six in the 2019 guide.

Similar to the 2019 guide, it was also a night to celebrate for the Republic of Ireland also has much to celebrate, with three new one-star awards and two chefs picking up two stars.

“This is an amazing year for the Republic of Ireland, with five new Michelin stars being awarded – two of them at two-star level. This brings the total number of starred restaurants in Ireland up to 18 and is just reward for the determination of young chefs who are keen to make their mark on the Irish dining scene,” said Burr.

Special awards for 2020

At the ceremony three new awards were introduced for the first time, to recognise aspects of the restaurants that have not previously been highlighted by the Michelin Guide. They were:

Welcome & Service Award 2020 – awarded to Team Bonwick at The Crown at Burchetts Green. 

Sommelier Award 2020 – awarded to Jurica Gojevic at Adare Manor in County Limerick. 

Sustainability Award 2020 – awarded to Loam in Galway. 

Of course, the team at the Michelin Guide is always keen to point out that they don’t just focus on the stars, even if they are the ones that receive all the attention. This year 22 new restaurants received a Bib Gourmand, awarded for restaurants deemed to be good value and good quality.

Tina Nielsen

 

Full list of the new stars in the 2020 Michelin Guide, UK and Ireland:

One star

Stark, Broadstairs

Artichoke, Amersham

The Dysart Petersham​, London

Cottage in the Woods, Braithwaite

Da Terra, London

The Oak Room, Adare

Opheem, Birmingham

Mana, Manchester

The Angel, Hetton

Pensons, Tenbury

WellsBeach House, Oxwich

Condita, Edinburgh

Bastion, Kinsale

Endo at The Rotunda, London

The Tudor Room, Egham

Isle of Eriska, Argyll

The Royal Oak, Whatcote

Interlude, Lower Beeding

The Muddlers Club, Belfast

Alchemilla, Nottingham

Mãos, London

Variety Jones, Dublin

Two stars

Aimsir, Kildare

The Greenhouse, Dublin

La Dame De Pic, London

The Dining Room at Whatley Manor, Malmesbury

Three stars

The Lecture Room & Library, Sketch, London