It’s no secret that when it comes to fine dining, Michelin stars are the ultimate accolade. The culinary world’s highest honor, a Michelin star is awarded to restaurants that meet the strict criteria of the Michelin Guide. But what about a fourth star? Is there such a thing?
The short answer is yes — there is indeed a fourth Michelin star. However, it’s not as widely used as the first three stars and doesn’t carry the same prestige. The fourth star is called the “Bib Gourmand” and is awarded to restaurants that offer good quality meals at an affordable price.
Unlike the first three stars, which are awarded based on culinary excellence, the Bib Gourmand takes into account both quality and value for money. The criteria for being awarded this star includes using fresh ingredients, offering generous portions and having a menu that changes seasonally.
In addition to being awarded with a fourth star, restaurants that qualify for the Bib Gourmand also receive special recognition in the form of an entry in the annual Michelin Guide. This entry includes details about the restaurant such as its location, type of cuisine and price range.
But why isn’t this fourth star more widely used?
The main reason is because there are only so many restaurants that can be deemed worthy of receiving all four stars. The strict criteria set by Michelin makes it difficult for any restaurant to meet all four standards and thus be eligible for all four stars.
Another reason may be because awarding a fourth star can devalue the significance of those who have already achieved three stars.
The third and final reason may be because awarding a fourth star requires additional resources from Michelin in terms of research and evaluation which can ultimately add costs.
Yes, there is indeed a fourth Michelin star known as the Bib Gourmand which is awarded to restaurants that offer good quality meals at an affordable price. However, due to its strict criteria and limited number available each year, it isn’t as widely used or sought after as its first three counterparts.