I've Eaten At Almost Every 3-michelin-star Restaurant In The World. Here's What I Learned

Posted: Jan 06, 2021

If you like good food – by which I mean incomparably luxurious food and not just the nice souvlaki from the van near your flat – then three-Michelin-star restaurants are the holy grail. These are the places designed to provide the best meal of your life. They specialise in visionary cuisine, service that makes you feel like a duke and small yet incredible details you wouldn’t find anywhere else (I’m thinking of La Pergola in Rome, where regular customers are given personalised napkins with their initials embroidered).

For the last six decades, 79-year-old Italian writer Maurizio Campiverdi has toured almost every three-Michelin-star restaurant in the world, and his new book, Tre Stelle Michelin (“Three Michelin Stars”), is an eye-opening tour of the elite dining world. The book – the latest iteration of a series he has been publishing since the 1980s – is like an encyclopaedia, containing anecdotes, factsheets, reflections and trivia about these near mythological eateries, from when they first appeared in 1933, up until today.

“I wanted to summarise 60 years of gastronomic travel,” says Campiverdi.

Campiverdi (who sometimes calls himself Maurice Von Greenfields) is an eccentric man: pleasantly snobbish, passionate about eating and capable of dropping comments like, “If I happen to be in Modena and I make a call to Massimo Bottura, he will give me a table.”

His passion for Michelin-starred restaurants started when he was only 12-years-old. “That was when my father took me for the first time to La Pyramide in Vienne, near Lyon,” he says. But, as he shows in the book, the history of Michelin star ratings goes back even further.

The Michelin Guide was created in France in 1889 by the Michelin brothers, two rubber factory owners famous for their tyres. Their idea was to make a handbook for the very few car owners in France at the time. Cars had been recently introduced to the mass market, and the Michelin brothers’ guide gave new owners a reason to get out on the roads and wear out their tyres. It rated places for refreshment and accommodation, with stars awarded to restaurants and red houses awarded to hotels.

By Andrea Strafile
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