We weren't sure if it would it would even go ahead this year, but Michelin has announced that it will release new stars for 2021 on Monday, January 25 at 6pm.
In normal circumstances, a lavish ceremony would take place in London with the very best of the culinary community from both Ireland and Great Britain in attendance as the latest Michelin stars - and subsequent deletions - are announced. Usually, the revelation would take place in autumn but due to the global pandemic, Michelin pushed the ceremony back from October 2020 to January 2021 in hopes that circumstances would improve.
Speaking at the time about moving the ceremony, International Director of the Michelin Guides Gwendal Poullennec said that the change was to allow restaurants to recover before the announcements were made.
“Restaurants have been through challenges we previously couldn’t even have imagined – and I want to applaud chefs and owners for the passion, ingenuity and entrepreneurship they have shown this year,” Poullennec said.
“Moving the publication and launch from our usual October date will not only allow time for the hospitality industry to get back on its feet, but will also let us prepare a full and comprehensive guide for our readers.”
Unfortunately, the hospitality industry hasn't improved much since Poullennec's announcement - Irish restaurants closed in autumn after a brief period of reopening during the summer. The pattern repeated during the festive season as gastropubs and restaurants reopened for a six week period from early December, a timeline that was cut short when Covid-19 cases began to rise astronomically again. Across the pond in the UK, case numbers have risen even more dramatically with severe lockdown measures and heavy fining policies in place.
However, on Monday, January 18, the Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland confirmed that the announcement of the new stars would take place on Monday, January 25th. It will be available to watch via Michelin's Facebook page and YouTube channel, as well as through a link that will be released ahead of the event.
While it might seem like an unusual time to host an awards ceremony, albeit an adapted version, Michelin has stated that the event will be held in order to celebrate the perseverance of the industry and its members.
As part of the statement on its website, Michelin stated the following:
"At a time when restaurants and pubs are closed, why then would we be launching a guide and awarding Stars? The answer is simple: we want to promote the industry as much as we possibly can. We want to celebrate the many amazing restaurants in Great Britain & Ireland and all the hugely talented chefs and restaurateurs. We want to shine a light on our industry, to keep people talking about it in the media and remind everyone of what we have, and to bring news of our great restaurants to a global audience... By celebrating our wonderful industry we also recognise all those who depend upon it and are part of the supply chain, from bakers and butchers, to farmers and fishermen. During our launch we will be acknowledging the great work being done in sustainable gastronomy, as well as highlighting great service, recognising young talent and saluting those who mentor others."
Michelin also indicated that it started working on the 2021 guide in August 2019, so much of the work had already been done by the time the pandemic hit in March 2020. While it is reassuring to hear that due diligence has been undertaken in order to produce the newest guide, 16 restaurants lost stars at the last Michelin revelation and the Guide has not confirmed whether or not venues will be at risk this happening during the upcoming event. As it stands, there are 18 restaurants in the Republic of Ireland and three in Northern Ireland that currently hold Michelin stars, with only three - Aimsir in Celbridge, The Greenhouse and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, both in Dublin - in possession of two stars each.
To find out whether there are more Irish additions - or deletions - to the Michelin Guide this year, we will have to watch the revelation online on Monday, January 25. For more information, click here.