THE Michelin Guide is like the Academy Awards of the restaurant industry. A Michelin star from the guide (originally intended to promote the Michelin tyre company in 1900) can elevate a chef to rock-star status and jam the bookings phone line of a restaurant for months.
It takes a lot to get one, even more to get two and at least the sacrifice of a chef's first-born to get three.
British chef Marco Pierre White famously handed his three Michelin stars back, claiming he had given them too much credit, and French chef Bernard Loiseau committed suicide when it was thought he would lose one of his three stars.
So what's the big deal?
Is Michelin food really worth both the stress and the exorbitant price?
Michelin star ratings are complex and they don't guarantee a restaurant financial success - some even operate at a loss simply to retain the high standards required to keep their stars.
Chances are, if you are dining on Michelin-starred fare it has taken more than one chef to prepare it.
Many elements of one dish may take anything from one to three days to prepare and this requires numerous chefs in the kitchen and a head chef capable of creating the flavour details and subtlety needed to excel.
Then there's the wine list, the decor and the service.
The guide started in France but now covers most of Europe, some cities in north America, including San Francisco, Chicago and New York, and Hong Kong and Japan in Asia - good news for business travellers visiting urban destinations around the world.
Michelin is yet to reach Australian restaurants, though we suspect a serious chef shake-up when it does.
In the meantime, you can dine on Michelin-rated food in select international business hotels, so you need never leave your digs when entertaining clients.
Expect to pay big dollars for three stars and work your way down to more reasonable one-Michelin-star prices.
Caprice is one of only three restaurants in Hong Kong boasting three Michelin stars. Chef Vincent Thierry heads a team of 25 chefs serving French-inspired cuisine. The cheese cellar deserves a star of its own.
Expect the signature Donald Trump over-the-top style and a Michelin star for breakfast, lunch and dinner at hotel restaurant Sixteen. Chef Thomas Lents spent his formative years working with Joel Robuchon, the man whose restaurants hold more Michelin stars - 28 in total - than anyone else's.
The uber-stylish Hotel Hesperia features two-Michelin-starred Santceloni from Spain's foodie favourite chef, Oscar Velasco, who is known for combining unlikely flavours to create a dining experience pilgrims travel for.
Alain Ducasse has 21 Michelin stars under his chef's belt. The restaurant that bears his name, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, accounts for three of them. Enough said.
One-Michelin-star restaurant Signature is perched on the 37th floor for views of Tokyo's skyline and features Mediterranean flavours from chef Olivier Rodriguez. Staying in-house helps but be sure to book ahead anyway.
Try the coveted Cantonese cuisine of one-star Xiang Tao for lunch, then add another star for dinner at the French-styled La Baie.
NEW YORK CITY
Mid-town is the fine dining precinct of New York so it's natural you'll find Gordon Ramsay here. He has trusted chef Markus Glocker to secure two Michelin stars at Gordon Ramsay at The London and has also put his name to The London Bar and the more casual Maze in the hotel.
Chef Daniel Corey has retained a Michelin star every year for four years for his approachable twist on American-Californian cuisine using local produce in his Luce restaurant. Enjoy a 350-label wine list.
Hotel Le Meurice
One of the grandest hotels in Paris combines Louis XVI interiors with 21st-century designer Philippe Starck's inspiration in Le Meurice, the three-Michelin-star restaurant from chef Yannick Alleno. Expect a silver and white dining room, champagne bar, wine cellar and a chef's table in the middle of the kitchen.