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Michelin Gives New ‘Green Clover’ Symbol to Sustainable Restaurants

February 3, 2020

Published by: Food & Wine Magazine

Michelin is best known for its stars, but the guide features other symbols … and not just the obvious Plates and Bib Gourmands. Some examples include grapes, which signify a notable wine list, “three crimson rays,” which denote an interesting view, and a “patio parasol,” which means terrace dining. Now, another new symbol is joining the fray to highlight restaurants that are “embracing more sustainable gastronomy.”


The new literally and figuratively green pictogram — referred to as “the green clover” — looks, as the name implies, like a five-leaf clover, and it's intended to “promote the chefs who have taken responsibility by preserving resources and embracing biodiversity, reducing food waste and reducing the consumption of non-renewable energy,” Michelin wrote in the announcement. This extra designation of environmental friendliness can be added to any restaurant already in the guide with a Plate, Bib Gourmand, or  stars.

The green symbol — which is also called a “Sustainable Gastronomy Selection” and is accompanied on the restaurant page with a quote from the chef — made its debut last week in the Michelin guide for France. Over 50 restaurants were given the distinction – a relatively small proportion of the 3,435 French eateries featured in the guide.

Michelin specifically cites “three-Michelin-starred Mirazur's permaculture gardens, David Toutain's collaborations with environmentally conscious producers and craftsmen, and Bertrand Grébaut's bio-waste recycling program at one-starred Septime” as examples of chefs who deserved to be “clover-ed.”

“Faced with constantly evolving challenges including production methods, sourcing and waste management, chefs are striving to improve their practices,” Gwendal Poullennec, international director of Michelin Guides, said in a statement. “Often, these initiatives combine the best of the knowledge of our predecessors with the creativity and innovation of chefs who are never short of ideas. The ambition of our approach is to amplify the scope of the good and ingenious practices of chefs by putting them in the spotlight. The ideas, methods and know-how developed by these chefs will thus help raise awareness of an entire sector to its customers and the general population.”

Michelin goes on to say that the sustainability initiatives of these selected chefs “will be detailed and highlighted on the various platforms of the Michelin Guide throughout the year.” What isn’t entirely clear is when or if these clovers will be introduced to other Michelin Guides outside of France, including in America. I’ve reached out to Michelin to see if they would discuss any plans for bringing the clovers to the States, but I’ve yet to receive a response.

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