Possible new Michelin stars for Croatian restaurants

The globally known Michelin Guide for restaurants will soon announce its annual selection of Croatian restaurants on its digital platforms, and this year it is planning the first printed guide for all of Croatia in English.

Image author: Hrvatska Turistička Zajednica

Last year, that selection was announced at the beginning of March, and 2019 is the third consecutive year when Michelin announces its annual selection of Croatian restaurants. Their number is increasing every year, and this is expected this year again, so new stars are also possible, Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) reports.

Related to the first printed Michelin Guide for Croatia, which is expected this year, CNTB only notes that the guide will present every restaurant from the selection whereby an introductory text will present the Croatian gastronomy as a whole.

Actually, Croatia started this year with total 62 restaurants at the Michelin list, out of which three have one star each, 55 have a recommendation, and four have Michelin’s Bib Gourmand designations, which were bestowed for the first time last year. You can check which restaurants are involved at the Croatia 365 Gourmet guide which deals with the Croatian enogastronomy.

Image: Gojko Mitić

Marketing cooperation of CNTB and Michelin

Stressing that they have only marketing cooperation with Michelin, within which various promotional events are organised, the Main Office of CNTB says that they do not have any influence on the selection of Croatian restaurants for the guide nor they cooperate with or contact the restaurants concerning this.

“We had the first contacts with Michelin in 2015, and since 2016 we have had more intense marketing cooperation. It is important to emphasise that the selection of restaurants is independently made by their inspectors controlled by Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guide,” CNTB says.

They stress that the criteria and procedures of selection of restaurants and regions are Michelin’s strict trade secret, so they do not have an insight in those processes.

Michelin sends an international team of experienced inspectors, especially trained for tasting and evaluating different types of internationa cuisines to destinations such as Croatia.

Image:  Croatian National Tourist Board  

”What we can acknowledge is that Michelin’s inspectors first define a list of restaurants, then they tour them very thoroughly, some of them for several times, until they complete the results and announce the selection for a certain year. We think that it is important that their inspectors really tour the whole of Croatia, so recommendations are given to Croatian restaurants both along the coast and in inland,” CNTB says.

Thus, they add, what is best of Croatia at present is reviewed, and development of excellence in restaurants in all parts of the country is also enhanced, which is also the goal of other CNTB activities within programmes for encouragement of development and promotion of the gastro scene.

Amongst CNTB activities for promotion of the gastronomy, they single out education workshops for Croatian chefs, which they have carried out in eight cities in the past two years, where the lecturers were chefs with a Michelin star.

Image: Duško Marušić/PIXSELL

Michelin promotes excellence

Assessing that bestowment of the first Michelin stars and recommendations to restaurants is great recognition of the whole Croatian tourism sector, CNTB adds that this makes a great promotional effect for the enogastronomic tourism and Croatia as a whole, because, they say, “it’s a great thing to be present in the Michelin’s map of the world by the side of the best restaurants, given that Michelin presents and promotes excellence in any way.”

Asked if they are aware how the stars and recommendations influence income of restaurants in Croatia, they say that there is no exact data, and that the profession sees those evaluations as very important because they are a certain prestige and recognition by the profession for creativity, quality, difference and presentation of food in restaurants. How some of them reacted then to the recognitions received, read HERE.

Michelin awarded the first stars to restaurants in distant 1926, and that designation has not lost in importance until today, which speaks of the power of the Michelin brand.

Image: Gojko Mitić

”Certainly, that does not mean in any way that restaurants that do not have those stars or a recommendation are not good; rather, Michelin’s guides, internet pages and activities in markets contribute a lot to the recognisability of a country in the world. In this way, the Croatian gastronomy is becoming a part of te world gastro scene, which is a great thing,” CNTB recommends.

Star enhances business, but...

But receiving a star isn't only an industry accolade - it can also be a boost to the business, British BBC reports.

In a recent article on Michelin and British restaurants, BBC states that late Joël Robuchon, the famous French chef whose restaurants throughout the world were bestowed more than 30 Michelin stars, pointed to the importance of the stars for business.

”With one Michelin star, you get about 20% more business. Two stars, you do about 40% more business, and with three stars, you'll do about 100% more business,” sais Robuchon at the time.

Nevertheless, BBC reports that there are different examples showing that the restaurant industry is tough, so it states that there are also restaurants that went bankrupt even though they had been awarded a Michelin star.