Michelin Star brings fame and business to restaurants, but some chefs do not want it. Let’s see why the first Asian Chef sues Michelin!
Michelin star is the life dream for many chefs in the culinary world.
Early this year, a French chef filed the lawsuit after his restaurant lost its three-star status. However, some chefs challenged Michelin by asking to be excluded.
Even more, an Asian chef sues Michelin Guide for including his restaurant after he has asked not to.
What are his complaints about Michelin? And what are the Michelin criteria to rate the restaurants?
Michelin star – why a chef doesn’t want it
Michelin star is usually regarded as an honour to chefs. But it’s not for the Korean chef Eo Yun-gwon. He is a chef-owner of Ristorante EO in Seoul.
Ristorante EO got the one-star Michelin in 2017 and 2018. Chef Eo has asked Michelin to exclude his restaurant in the Michelin Guide. However, his restaurant was in the list again in the 2020 edition. It was just released by mid Nov.
Chef Eo calls it as “insult”. Then he filed a lawsuit to Michelin. As he said, Michelin has no clear standard to list a restaurant.
Complaints by Chef’s Eo
According to Chef Eo, “I have filed a criminal complaint against Michelin Guide’s behaviour of forcibly listing restaurants against their will and without a clear criteria.”
Chef Eo names Michelin Guide as a “corrupt book”. Also, he described Michelin “like a ghost”, as they do not have a contact number. The only way of contact is through email.
Although he clearly refused listing of his restaurant, Michelin has included it in the new edition 2020.
About Michelin Inspectors
Actually, restaurants have no idea when Michelin inspectors will come. Does it sound like a secret organization?
As Michelin explained, their Inspectors test restaurants in complete anonymity. So they do not receive any special treatment. It’s indeed essential to the credibility of the Michelin Guide.
Yes, we agree to the anonymity of inspector’s visits. But what are their rating criteria?
Michelin Inspector’s 5 Restaurant Rating Criteria
- Quality of products
- Mastery of flavour and cooking techniques
- The personality of the chef represented in the dining experience
- Harmony of flavours
- Consistency between inspectors’ visits
If you’re interested to know more about a Michelin Inspector, do check out this interview with a Michelin Inspector from Thailand.
History of Michelin Guide
Back to a century ago, Michelin was once a guide for motorists. At that time, the red book provided information to motorists such as maps, tire repairs, hotels and petrol stations.
Shortly after WW2, Michelin started to publish listings of restaurants with ratings. The Michelin Guide has gradually become a ‘Bible in the Culinary World”.
Among all Asian cities, Tokyo is the first to be included in the Michelin Guide. Hong Kong has its edition the year after Tokyo. It’s the 11th edition for Hong Kong and Macau in 2019. Seoul is quite new to the Guide for three years.
In the past week, Michelin announced the starred restaurant list of Seoul and Tokyo, as well as the first edition of Beijing. We are looking forward to it for Hong Kong soon.
Michelin Star – Restaurant Rating
Perhaps you have heard about Michelin’s rating system, but how the Michelin stars stand for?
- : “A very good restaurant in its category”
- : “Excellent cooking, worth a detour”
- : “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”
In fact, Michelin Guide is an established restaurant review across the globe.
To be frank, Michelin star can help to bring fame and business to restaurants. On the other hand, this rating system creates stress to chefs.
In order to keep a star status, chefs might be reluctant to try new cuisines. Is the Michelin rating system the time to review?