The loss of Sheffield’s sole Michelin star has stirred up a debate over the state of the city’s restaurant scene - and whether more should be done locally to secure the ultimate food accolade.
For almost 20 years The Old Vicarage, at Ridgeway, had been the only place in Sheffield to hold a Michelin star. But, in the latest edition of the Michelin Guide, the rating has been removed.
While the restaurant, led by chef Tessa Bramley, is still recommended in the guide along with several other Sheffield venues, it means the guide’s compilers believe that nowhere in the city is currently reaching the standard of cooking necessary to deserve a star.
However, chef Jack Baker, of Smith and Baker on Ecclesall Road, said he thought there were many city restaurants on the verge of warranting a star, while Walkley councillor Neale Gibson, a former restaurateur and Sheffield Council’s food champion, said the guide’s requirements should be updated to reflect ‘the current style of cooking and eating’.
Jack said: “The Old Vicarage will be absolutely gutted that they have lost it after so many years, but there are a lot of places in Sheffield coming through now on the brink of deserving one. If you want to go somewhere top notch, you look for a Michelin star.”
He added: “Sheffield is a great city and people love food up here. It has great produce that people import down south. We just need to get home-grown talent who cook that syle of food and are interested in it, that’s the main thing. It would be good for Sheffield to have a star.”
Meanwhile Coun Gibson said: “If the requirements for a star were updated to reflect the current offerings then I think a number of restaurants in the city would have a number of stars - unfortunately, when one of the requirements is around the quality of tableware and linen, I would suggest that people would rather pay for good food.
“My view is that a Michelin star no longer holds the esteem that it once did, I think it’s a throw back to a different form of cooking and presentation, and I personally welcome the exiting and vibrant restaurant scene we now have in the city.”
Rebecca Burr, editor of the guide, said The Old Vicarage would have been ‘carefully assessed over a long period of time’, adding: “I would encourage people to write to us and tell us where we are missing in Sheffield.”
The Old Vicarage did not respond to the Sheffield Telegraph’s request for a comment.
But veteran Sheffield food reviewer Martin Dawes, who writes a popular blog called Another Helping, said losing a star ‘will be a big disappointment’ to Tessa, but the rating ‘does not always translate into profits’.
“Her drive, vision and style of cooking played a big part in the Old Vicarage’s success,” he said.
“From the point of view of your average diner - some of whom are scared of eating in a Michelin restaurant - guides like the Good Food Guide and Hardens are probably more influential. But losing the star will hurt Tessa’s pride. She is to be commended for holding on to it for so long.”
Fischer’s Baslow Hall in Baslow still has a star in the guide, which recognises good service, food and surroundings at a consistent level.
Sheffield venues featured in the book this time include the Wig and Pen and The Milestone, the Leopold Hotel, Rafter’s at Nether Green, Nonnas on Ecclesall Road, the Halifax Hotel, Endcliffe, and Hampton by Hilton in the city centre, which has a Marco Pierre White restaurant.