Of the 3,435 restaurants in the Michelin France’s 2020 guide, just about 50 made the cut.
Despite the protests of an increasing number of chefs, earning a star from Michelin is still a goal for many restaurants. But this year, the guide introduced a different designation—the sustainability clover, which highlights chefs and restaurants “who have taken responsibility by preserving resources and embracing biodiversity, reducing food waste and reducing the consumption of non-renewable energy.” It’s a little clover shaped emblem. Michelin is best known for its stars, but the guide features other symbols … and not just the obvious Plates and Bib Gourmands. Some examples include grapes, which signify a notable wine list, “three crimson rays,” which denote an interesting view, and a “patio parasol,” which means terrace dining. Now, another new symbol is joining the fray to highlight restaurants that are “embracing more sustainable gastronomy.”
The new literally and figuratively green pictogram—referred to as “the green clover”—looks, as the name implies, like a five-leaf clover, and it’s intended to “promote the chefs who have taken responsibility by preserving resources and embracing biodiversity, reducing food waste and reducing the consumption of non-renewable energy,” Michelin wrote in the announcement. This extra designation of environmental friendliness can be added to any restaurant already in the guide with a Plate, Bib Gourmand, or stars.
Foodandwine.com reports that over 50 restaurants were awarded the designation in the most recent Michelin guide to France, and while the company cites things like permaculture gardens and a “bio-waste recycling program,” it’s unclear what the criteria is to be awarded a clover.
“The ideas, methods and know-how developed by these chefs will thus help raise awareness of an entire sector to its customers and the general population,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of Michelin Guides.
However, Michelin, a tyre company, could probably do more by not encouraging diners not to drive around so much and look at safe ways to recycle and reuse the rubber.