Alannah Nathan
Cecelia Cassidy
Food & Water
Spring 2024

MICHELIN Guide’s Green Star Celebrates Sustainability at the World’s Top Restaurants

Illustration of vegetables on a chair beneath a farm door. Design by Cecilia Cassidy.png

By Alannah Nathan, SFS ‘24 & Common Home Editor

In 2020, Michelin Guide, one of the most highly regarded restaurant guides in the world, launched its annual Green Star award. The award honors restaurants at the forefront of the industry in their practice of sustainability. 

Although the sustainability practices of Green Star restaurants vary, they each demonstrate a degree of ethical and environmental standards, often working with producers and suppliers to avoid food and non-recyclable waste in their supply chain. Many of these restaurants work directly with growers, farmers, fishermen and foragers who use regenerative methods, cover crop growing and sustainable sourcing. 

There are now 291 Michelin Green Star restaurants across the globe. Here is a sampling.

Opened in 2004, Hudson Valley’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns has built its reputation through its farm-to-table concept. 

Blue Hill is consistently ranked one of the top 50 restaurants in the world and has earned two Michelin stars. In 2021, Blue Hill received a Green Star. 

Hailed as a “philosopher chef,” Head Chef Dan Barber is on a long-term mission to change food and farming. Blue Hill is committed to supporting small, independent farmers and strives to build a menu that delivers both economic and ecological viability to farmers.

“When you are chasing the best flavor, you are chasing after the best ingredients — and when you’re chasing after the best ingredients, you’re in search of great farming, ” Barber said

Barber is a major advocate of regenerative farming and works directly with 64 local farms at the restaurant. In addition, 80% of Blue Hill’s seafood purchases are caught that day by fishermen off of Long Island, N.Y. 

The non-profit behind the restaurant, the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, has helped shape a conversation around sustainable food systems nationally. The non-profit strives to drive innovative practices in ecological farming and mindful food choices. The campus, shared with the restaurant itself, brings together farmers, chefs, diners, educators and artisans to push the boundaries of sustainable farming and eating. 

Learn more about Blue Hill at Stone Barns here


In San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood, Dominique Crenn’s Atelier Crenn, which opened in 2011, controls the entire lifecycle of its ingredients.

Chef Dominique Crenn of three Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn cares deeply about from where her ingredients come. Crenn, the first female chef in the United States to earn three stars –  is adamant about “controlling the entire life cycle of her ingredients — from seed to harvest to preparation — to ensure the very best quality.” 

Atelier Crenn sources the majority of its ingredients from the restaurant’s own Blue Belle Farm, which launched in 2018 on a four-acre plot of land in Sonoma, Ariz. The farm uses regenerative agriculture practices to rebuild the soil’s organic matter and restore its biodiversity. 

In 2018, motivated by the outsized carbon intensity of meat production, Atelier Crenn completely removed meat from its menu. Moreover, the restaurant is attempting to become a zero-waste establishment across all operations — from the kitchen to the dining room. For example, all food scraps from the restaurant are sent back to Bleu Belle Farms as compost to nourish the soil. 

Having removed single-use plastics from the restaurant’s operations, Atelier Crenn is also certified as a Plastic Free establishment — the first American restaurant to earn that title. 

Learn more about Atelier Crenn on their website


In Helsinki, Finland, Nolla — named after the Finnish word for “zero” — opened in 2018 with the goal of sending zero waste to landfills.

“The idea for Nolla arose out of our desire to make the restaurant industry more environmentally friendly,” Albert Franch Sunyer, one of Nolla’s three co-founders, said in an interview with “Eatweek Guide.” “Working in different restaurants and realizing the problem with waste, which is part of the industry, you realize you can either close your eyes to it and continue cooking, or admit the problem and try to do something about it.”

To eliminate waste across the restaurant’s operations, Nolla has considered every detail. 

For example, they prohibit secondary packaging from suppliers; servers wear uniforms made of discarded bed linen; and their gift cards are made from biodegradable paper (with embedded poppy seeds for planting at home).

Nolla serves a pre-fixed, four to six-course dinner to avoid over-preparing food, a common source of waste in the restaurant industry. Moreover, Nolla often uses techniques, such as drying, fermenting and curing products, to preserve ingredients. Whatever cannot be used is processed in the restaurant’s in-house composter, where food scraps are turned into fertilizer in under 24 hours and sent back to farmers. 

“We use common sense to prevent waste which, over time, becomes a trend that everyone benefits from. It’s painful to see waste and neglect and, once it is done, we cannot go back. It’s simply a mindset and, for us, now a daily routine,” Nolla told the Michelin Guide.
Learn more about Nolla on their website.

climate change
Michelin Guide
Sustainable eating