After analysing the menus, we've unearthed the most Michelin ingredients and cooking techniques used by UK restaurants which hold two and three Michelin stars. Following the release of the 2020 Michelin restaurant results, we can reveal what really makes a Michelin menu.
If you eat in the UK’s best restaurants you’re almost guaranteed to find chocolate, caviar or... potato. And those restaurants are no longer just frying or grilling their food – instead smoking, pickling and making sorbet are the go-to Michelin methods for 2020.
What are the 'most Michelin' ingredients?
Chocolate appears on 80% of all the Michelin menus we analysed, in delights such as the Smoked Jivara Chocolate mousse at The Waterside Inn, and the Coriander White Chocolate Dome at Midsummer House.
Potato and Caviar each appear on 72% of Michelin menus – putting the humble spud on equal footing with one of the most expensive ingredients in the world.
When it comes to the crème de la crème of restaurants – the UK restaurants with 3 stars – the menus become even more elite. Here, in place of chocolate and potato, we see lobster, caviar and foie gras but interestingly hazelnut, sweetcorn, mushroom and celeriac also take equal billing at the top.
Michelin chefs also favour beetroot and mushrooms over the much-loved scallops. Three varieties were most frequently mentioned here: wild mushrooms, ceps - note the French name, rather than Italian 'porcini' - and girolles, again using the French name for chanterelles as they're more commonly referred to in English.
We found a wonderful array of mushroom dishes on the menus, from the Cep Mushrooms with Chestnut & Burnet at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, and Wild Mushroom & Truffle Ravioli by Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles.
Classic fine dining luxuries such as truffle and foie gras are still on the list, but are only present on 48% and 44% of menus respectively.
Meat doesn't make it in the 'Top 10' ingredients
There is no red meat in the list of most used ingredients. Instead - alongside vegetables and chocolate - seafood dominates the top spots, with caviar, scallops, lobster and crab ahead of any land animal.
Pork is the most mentioned meat, appearing on 52% of menus (followed by beef, duck, and finally chicken then lamb).
Salt, Pepper & Spice
In these restaurants, spices tread a conservative line. And so as you might expect salt and pepper have the most mentions.
Pepper has the highest billing, featured on 44% of menus – the same number of mentions as foie gras – yet it's rarely just ordinary black pepper that is mentioned. To bring a broader palette of flavours, prized examples include rare Madagascan voatsiperifery pepper used at both Hélène Darroze at the Connaught and Le Dame de Pic. Grapefruit-scented timur berry pepper is pick of the pepper menu at Core by Clare Smith, in 'Duck and red grape, thyme honey, timur berry pepper'. And Sarawak pepper features in The Waterside Inn's 'Pan-roasted fillet of Angus beef with blue cheese, caramelized onion ravioli, red port and Sarawak pepper sauce'.
In contrast, salts are rarely name-checked. Instead the notable salt references are more simply salted, which appears on 24% of menus and salt-baked (12%).
Japanese influences on the UK fine dining scene means that wasabi is ahead of horseradish and other spices, appearing on 20% of menus.
How to replicate these dishes?
You can find the selection of chocolate for cooking here, including the brands chefs are using on those Michelin-menus. Similarly browse our collection of finest quality dried mushrooms here, which bring fantastic texture and umami savouriness to your cooking. And each of the featured peppers are ones we stock under the Sous Chef brand here.
The most Michelin ingredients list in detail
|ALL 2 & 3 Star Restaurants||3 Star Restaurants||2 Star Restaurants|
What are the 'most Michelin' cooking techniques?
Smoking tops the chart of Michelin techniques – it’s used as a description on 68% of the menus analysed, while pickling is not far behind with just over half of the restaurants offering something pickled on their menu (52%).
You'll also see a divide between two star and three star restaurants. Three star restaurants have a notable French approach with confits, purees, and jus all prominent on the menus. These techniques are still present in two star restaurants, but this is also where you see the smoking, roasting and pickling.
Ice-creams and sorbets are extremely popular among Michelin chefs, whether in savoury dishes or sweet. Michelin ice-creams include Pumpkin Ice-cream at Sketch and Lovage Ice-cream at Le Dame de Pic. You can also enjoy a Horseradish Sorbet at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons or a Roasted Grapefruit Sorbet at The Hand and Flowers.
How to use these techniques at home?
You can use the same equipment that is used in Michelin starred restaurants with Sous Chef’s range of food smokers, and learn more about Home Smoking here. Similarly try preserving and fermenting with the Sous Chef's collection of vinaigriers, fermentation jars and preserving equipment.
The 'most Michelin' techniques list in detail
|ALL 2+3 Star Restaurants||3 Star Restaurants||2 Star Restaurants|
The method behind the data
We looked at all available online menus for restaurants that hold two and three Michelin stars, as of the updates on Monday 7th October 2019. Three restaurants had no online menus, meaning this data is drawn from 25 establishments. We tallied the frequency of individual ingredients and techniques, and created a log of how often each word appears across the group of restaurants. We excluded information about cheese selections - some restaurants published these but many didn't. English translations were used wherever appropriate.
Browse a huge range of specialist ingredients used by chefs and cooks, find the perfect gift for a chef you know who has recently won - or you think deserves - a Michelin star, or get inspiration for what recipe to cook next in the Sous Chef Bureau of Taste blog.