Michael Ellis is leaving for a luxury hotel chain. Could this mean big changes for the Michelin Guides?
Michelin is possibly the most influential guide for determining the best restaurants around the world. Once in the guide, chefs are under a lot of pressure to maintain that level of performance – for better or worse – and likewise, the team behind the guide is under a lot of pressure to wield their power responsibly and accurately. Since 2011, Michael Ellis has been the man at the top of the Michelin Guide pyramid, holding the position of international director, but today, Michelin announced that Ellis would be stepping down in September, leaving one of the most important spots in the world of restaurant ratings up for grabs.
“The past seven years as head of the Michelin guides have been the most exciting of my career and I cannot thank the Michelin Group enough for giving me this unique opportunity,” Ellis said in a statement announcing his choice to leave his position. “The inspectors are the beating heart of this strategic activity, their passion and their expertise are powerful, and I have been honored to be by their side during these last seven years. Long live the Michelin Guide!”
Probably the most notable achievement during Ellis’s tenure at Michelin has been his global expansion of the brand, including adding six new guides over the past three years alone, including first-ever guides in Shanghai, Singapore, Seoul, and Bangkok. (Los Angeles, meanwhile, still awaits a potential Michelin guide return.)
According to Bloomberg, Ellis will be joining the Dubai-based luxury hotel chain Jumeirah Group as its newly-created chief culinary officer. “His appointment is the cornerstone of the vision to put dining at the center of Jumeirah’s luxury experience,” Jumeirah CEO Jose Silva said in a statement. The chain currently has 15 hotels across the Middle East, Europe and Asia, with 18 additional projects under construction.
As far as a successor is concerned, Michelin only stated that a “replacement will be appointed soon.” Just don’t expect to be able to apply online.