In culinary Cumbria – even a museum has Michelin “stars”!
In a year when Cumbria cemented its place as having the most Michelin-starred restaurants outside London - the Lakeland Motor Museum is also celebrating its very own Michelin “stars”.
The standard bearer is a little “Michelin Man” tyre inflator ready to leap into action at the first sign of a deflated tyre - a historic reminder that while Michelin is well known for its endorsement of the best foodie experiences – its origin lies in motoring.
The tyre-inflator mascot is just one of the many Michelin-themed items on display at the Backbarrow attraction – and this little mascot has quite a history.
The Michelin Man has been the face of the brand since 1898. He was inspired by a pile of tyres at an exhibition way back in 1894. In those days tyres were either grey-white or beige – not today’s black colour (the colour change happened when carbon was added to the rubber formula as a preservative and strengthener.)
The museum’s collection shows how he’s changed over the years. Early on he was a mummy-like creature sometimes smoking a cigar – a touch added to appeal to the wealthy who could afford cars. His name is actually Bibendum (or Bib for short).
Chris Lowe, Curator at the Lakeland Motor Museum, says: “Over the years here at the Lakeland Motor Museum, we’ve gathered all sorts of Michelin memorabilia – many items of which are very rare, making them our very own ‘stars’ of the museum.”
The museum collection of Michelin Man memorabilia includes advertising signs from different countries and even ashtrays. He’s been used in adverts for decades and he’s one of the most recognisable brand mascots in the world. He even has a category named after him in the world-famous Michelin guidebooks. The Bib Gourmand category, for value for money restaurants, is named after the little mascot.
Earlier this year, Cumbria extended its reputation as a world class “culinary capital” after securing 13 coveted Michelin Stars across 11 restaurants. It’s the highest number of Michelin starred restaurants per county outside London. The accolade lures foodies from all corners of the globe to Cumbria to experience the best dining experiences.
Chris Lowe says: “Perhaps after visitors to The Lake District have enjoyed a Michelin star meal, they could come and see the Michelin Man himself!”