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October 2, 2018

There were no new stars for any Scottish restaurants.

Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles retained his two stars.

Three Scottish stars were deleted. Although not because of slipping standards.

Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond closed after the tragic fire at Cameron House while the Albannach in Lochinver also shut down. Boath House in Nairn signalled that they were moving away from Michelin cooking in 2017.

The deletions now mean that the number of Scottish Michelin restaurants with one star has fallen to eight. In Edinburgh, Restaurant Martin Wishart, The Kitchin (Tom Kitchin is pictured), Number One at The Balmoral and 21212 all kept their one star.

In Fife, The Cellar and The Peat Inn retained their star as did Braidwoods in Dalry and Loch Bay on Skye.

Lack of recognition?

As you might expect, not everybody is pleased. Writing in The Herald, Cate Devine is 'seriously hacked off' at what the headline terms a 'snub to Scotland'.

Elsewhere in The Herald, some of Scotland's top chefs have expressed frustration on behalf of a new generation of up and coming Scottish chefs who have yet to be recognised by Michelin.

At the same time, they advise patience.

It is a curious beast, the Michelin Guide. You don't have to look far to find criticism of it. According to its detractors, it is outdated; wedded to classical French cooking and rapidly being rendered obsolete by consumer-led, online guides.

And there is some truth in all of that. At the same time, the guide has made efforts to address those concerns.

Others simply think it is irrelevant.

Peter McKenna and Ivan Stein, the duo behind the Gannet restaurant in the Finnieston, recently summed up the feelings of many when they told a newspaper that Michelin is 'missing the point because Glasgow doesn’t judge its success against whether it has any Michelin star restaurants or not; that’s not the way the city thinks'.

And yet, it would be a foolish forecaster who predicted that Michelin's star power was in terminal decline.

A Michelin star is still seen by most chefs as the most valid of all accolades. They may bitch about who did and who didn't get one but they respect the opinions of the professional inspectors who compile the guide.

Michelin stars = bums on seats

Gaining a Michelin star cements a chef's reputation. It puts restaurants on the map and bums on seats.

Of course, many a chef and, more pertinently, their accountants, have come to regret their stars.

From Marco Pierre White to Boath House, there have been plenty of restaurants that have turned away from Michelin. Their reasons range from the pressure of maintaining the culinary standard expected to the financial costs which are perceived to come along with a star.

The arguments for and against Michelin will continue to rage.

And next year, as every year, all of the UK's most ambitious chefs and all of its culinary commentators will be riveted as the latest crop of stars gained and lost are announced.

Hopefully with a few more in Scotland.