Stars cannot be awarded to individuals and only to restaurants "based on the quality of the food they serve", according to the guide. That means that even chefs like Alain Ducasse, the chef with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, is not actually a 'Michelin-starred chef' because the term doesn’t technically exist under the Michelin guidelines.
If a chef leaves a restaurant they are also not entitled to take any allocated stars with them. Rather the stars are considered the result of a collective team effort and remain attached to the restaurant where they were obtained.
Do Michelin stars transfer with chefs to new restaurants if they leave?
So, even if a restaurant obtains stars under a particular head chef, it will retain those stars even if that head chef leaves before the next annual assessment takes place by the guide's inspectors.
A chef who owns or heads up a restaurant with Michelin stars does not automatically get to transfer stars to the a new restaurant in a new location and must earn stars at that establishment in its own right.
Do restaurants lose stars if a new chef takes over?
A restaurant is assessed according to five criteria: the quality of ingredients used, the skill in food preparation, the combination of flavours, the value for money, and the consistency of culinary standards, according to an inspector's visit.
The guide is updated annually, and while restaurants can lose their stars if they close during the year of assessment, they will not lose the stars if the head chef leaves, even if it's just after a new guide has been released, as long is there is continuity of culinary quality.