Russian restaurateur wins a Michelin Guide star for first time ever

For the first time in the 114-year history of the Michelin Guide, a restaurant run by a Russian has received a Michelin star.

The Betony restaurant. Source: Press Photo

For the first time in the 114-year history of the Michelin Guide, a restaurant run by a Russian has received a Michelin star.

The Betony restaurant, part of the Maison Dellos holding run by Russian Andrey Dellos, has been conferred a star in the Michelin Guide New York City 2015, which was released for sale on 1 October.

In Russia there is not a single establishment noted by the Michelin guide – the inspectors of the French company do not esteem Russian restaurants. The highest rating in the Michelin Guide is three stars and a restaurant may not receive more than one star each year.

Betony is located in Midtown Manhattan, one block from Fifth Avenue, next to Central Park. The location was originally home to Dellos’ previous venture, the restaurant Brasserie Pushkin, which copied the restaurateur's Moscow establishment of the same name.

But the residents of Manhattan did not take to the ‘Pushkin’ concept and, as attested in the New York Times, Brasserie Pushkin failed. Hurricane Sandy, which hit the U.S. in October 2012, also made its contribution, taking out the roof and kitchen of the New York Pushkin.

At this same time, Dellos met the future chef of Betony, Bryce Shuman, and the future general manager, Eamon Rockey, who were both working at the three-star New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park.

As a result, Betony's doors were opened in place of Brasserie Pushkin in the spring of 2013. And in July, Esquiremagazine recognized it as Restaurant of the Year - 2013. A month later the New York Times awarded Betony three stars.

"This only happens once a year at best. And then on the day of the publication's release, the restaurant gets booked up for two months solid," Dellos said, commenting on Betony's success in a February interview with Russian business daily Vedomosti.

"In France or Russia no one would have paid any attention, but Americans see such a verdict as an order."

When Michelin was the only source of ratings, it was generally assumed that if a restaurant was awarded a Michelin star, it would receive an additional $1 million in annual revenue, says Alexei Zimin, the editor-in-chief of Eda magazine and brand chef of the Moscow restaurant Ragout.

According to Zimin, this dependence no longer exists, since there is now competition between ratings and there are mobile recommendation services, social networks, and so on.

However, the number of reservations will increase by a quarter at least, he thinks. One of the top managers in the restaurant business estimates Betony’s annual income at $8-10 million.

The Maison Dellos restaurant holding includes the Moscow restaurants Bochka, Shinok, Café Manon, Café Pushkin, Turandot, Casta Diva, the Mu-mu chain of cafes, Café Pouchkine in Paris, two restaurants in New York (Betony and Manon), and the catering services Dellos Catering, Delicatering and Dellos Air Service.

First published in Russian in Vedomosti.

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