This article appears as part of the Food Matters newsletter.

You can keep your ever-so-astute observations on Emma Stone’s performance in Poor Things and any tired Barbie vs Oppenheimer debates.

I simply do not care to indulge in any drama surrounding this year's Oscar nominations.

Let’s instead get stuck into the Michelin Stars.

Now it’s true that I’ve nowhere near enough cash in the bank or any real inclination to dissect another multi-course tasting menu at one of Scotland’s rumoured hopefuls.

And yet, I can’t help being sucked into the gravitational pull of it all every time.

Granted, the entire haute-cuisine hullaballoo is almost comic once you delve into the history of the prestigious Guide and discover that it was originally nothing more than a marketing tool to encourage road travel and therefore boost tyre sales for the canny Michelin brothers.

But even that revelation can’t stop a simmering sense of excitement as we speculate who has done enough to be recognised with one of the highest achievements in cooking.

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No doubt intensified by last year’s pop-culture obsession with fine-dining-inspired fiction like Boiling Point or The Bear.

(Yes, chef).

Already this week, a new Bib Gourmand was announced for tipo in Edinburgh, a restaurant from powerhouse Scottish chef Stuart Ralston, who also runs Aizle, Noto and Lyla in the nation’s capital.

Named after Michelin mascot Bibendum, the Bibs are described as ‘not quite a star’, but still worthy of lifelong bragging rights for any kitchen that achieves the accolade.

Adding more fuel to the Michelin madness was the announcement that one of only 12 Scottish restaurants to hold the award is set to be sold, with owner and chef Billy Boyter stating simply that the ‘time was right’.

After 10 years at the helm of The Cellar in Anstruther and holding a star since 2015, I’d argue he’s earned some time away from the pass, but do hope he’ll return with a new venture soon.

Finally, there was a handy explainer published by The Herald this week as we attempted to lift the lid on the mystery-shrouded rating process.

The Herald:
It turns out several anonymous inspectors visit each restaurant before colluding to decide if they are worthy of a place in the ‘Little Red Book’, with five criteria that must be met.

For a company that started out in rubber, not ragout, they’ve certainly garnered a lot of mileage from the schtick.

Choosing not to be cynical about the pomp and pantomime that is all too often associated with Michelin-level dining, I truly love to see any major event that whips up excitement for the industry and recognises the incredible culinary talent the country has to offer.

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Keep an eye on The Herald website to find out who has achieved Stardom or managed to retain their hard-earned status for another year as we keep you updated on the outcome of the 2024 Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland ceremony on Monday, February 5.

I’ll join you in keeping those fingers crossed for Scotland.