The Most Prestigious Culinary Awards You Can Achieve

Let’s explore some of the most prestigious culinary awards that chefs and restaurants can achieve throughout their careers.

Just like the best actors and actresses receive Oscars, and singers receive Grammys, chefs too have their own fair share of accolades to reward and recognize them for their amazing achievements. These awards recognize the best of the best, whether it is outstanding performance by an individual or a joint feat of an entire restaurant. Let’s explore some of the most prestigious culinary awards that chefs and restaurants can achieve throughout their careers.

The Michelin Guide

The Michelin Guide’s awarded Michelin Stars have become the most coveted and respected culinary award a restaurant or chef can receive. The guide was founded by the European tire producer  in 1900 as a way to encourage drivers to explore country roads and places less travelled, while providing them with recommendations on where to go, eat and sleep. By 1926, the restaurant section of the guide had become so popular that a group of inspectors was hired to perform audits on different restaurants for the guide. In 1931, the famous three star system was introduced, while the criteria of the rating system, which still exists today was published in 1936. Michelin Stars are awarded based on five different criteria

  • Quality of ingredients used
  • Mastery of flavor and cooking techniques
  • The personality of the chef in their cuisine
  • Value for money
  • Consistency of food between visits

For those of you that are less familiar with what exactly the number of stars indicate, let's take a little recap:

  • One Star: indicates high quality cooking, which is worth a stop
  • Two Stars: indicates exceptional cooking, which is worth a detour
  • Three Stars: indicates unique cuisine, which is worth a special trip

In addition to the Michelin Stars, the Michelin Guide also rates restaurants for Comfort and Quality. For restaurants that do not quite reach the Michelin Star level, the Michelin Guide provides the rating Bib Gourmand, which indicates good quality and value cooking. In addition, some are awarded The Plate symbol, which recognizes restaurants that serve good food. Restaurants can also be recognized for notable drinks menus, or different symbols based on their region and type of food served. This allows the guide to recognize a high level of local food served.

To provide these ratings, a team of anonymous food loving auditors dine at a number of restaurants, making meticulous notes of their experiences and the food. These experiences are then discussed in panel meetings to decide which restaurants are to be awarded stars each year. The results are then published in each region’s Michelin Guide on a yearly basis. 

Some famous Michelin Star winners you may recognize include: Massimo Bottura, Grant Achatz, Gordon Ramsay, Enrique Olvera, Daniel Boulud, Michael Mina and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. 

As a soccer player, I wanted an FA cup winner’s medal. As an actor you want an Oscar. As a chef, it’s three-Michelin’s Stars, there’s no greater than that. So pushing yourself to the extreme creates a lot of pressure and a lot of excitement, and more importantly, it shows on the plate.” Gordon Ramsay

James Beard Awards

The James Beard Awards are presented annually in the United States to celebrate and honor restaurants, chefs as well as food journalists and authors. These awards were launched in 1990 by the James Beard Foundation. The foundation and the awards honour the late, legendary chef James Beard, who is known as one of the fathers of American cuisine. The foundation was formed a year after Beard’s death, in 1986 to honour his legacy and to provide culinary scholarships to support aspiring professional chefs. 

The James Beard Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone.”

The famous James Beard Awards are presented in April/May each year, close to the birthdate of James Beard. In the USA, these are some of the most acclaimed awards a chef or culinary professional can receive in their lifetime.

There are a multitude of categories for which the James Beard Awards are issued. Such as:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Outstanding Chef
  • Outstanding Restaurant
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year
  • Best New Restaurant
  • Outstanding Pastry Chef
  • Best Chef by Region

In addition, the foundation also awards Best Service, Wine, Beer and Spirits and Restaurateur awards. There are also a range of Food Journalism, Book Awards and Broadcast Media Awards.

Some famous winners of the James Beard Awards you may recognize include: Michael Mina, Daniel Boulud, David Chang, Dominique Ansel, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Alain Ducasse

World’s 50 Best Restaurants

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is relatively new to the culinary awards scene, launching in only 2002, but nevertheless, a place on this list has become one of the most coveted accomplishments of any restaurant. The list highlights destinations with unique culinary experiences and highlights global trends in gastronomy.

The list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants is awarded annually at a ceremony which tours the world. This list is compiled by a panel of over 1000 culinary experts, and includes an intense voting procedure to rank the nominees in their rightful order. According to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants team, “it is more than just a list, it is a celebration of the universality of cuisines.” The annual event is also more than just an awards ceremony, it is an opportunity for the global food community to come together, connect, network, and share ideas to celebrate the global culinary community. 


Which award would you like to win one day? A Michelin Star? A James Beard Award? A place on the World’s Best Restaurants List? Or maybe all of them? 

Did you know, Placement International partners with restaurants of Michelin Star chefs, James Beard Award winners, and chefs whose restaurants have placed on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List!

 If you would like to learn from the best in the industry and work towards receiving your own culinary award, take a look at some of our amazing offers here!


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