About Michelin stars
As gourmands, we are thrilled every time we hear about Michelin stars. Until now, we were in two Michelin stars awarded restaurants and I must admit that it was a very good experience. You are served at the highest possible level and the food is not ordinary. There, the ideas and techniques are in a different dimension. And I don’t talk just about an avant-garde kitchen. Even a more classic kitchen is presented in a different way. Flavors are clean and strong with some special not so ordinary twists. All the chefs with a Michelin star are a sort of artists with unique ideas and preparation of food. Now let’s first take a look how can you get a Michelin star for your restaurant.
How can you achieve Michelin stars?
There are Michelin inspectors who do controls and so-called reviews of food in the areas which are covered by Michelin. In 2004, there was a leak by former Michelin inspector Pascal Rémy, who claimed there aren’t enough inspectors for Michelin. The whole USA had only seven inspectors at that time and they had to assess those who had the stars once in every three to four years. So, yeah, there is a lack of inspectors, which means a lot of restaurants aren’t getting a star that they deserve. It is also possible that they should be on their list more than some who already are there.
Anyway, if you want to get on the radar of Michelin, there must be a rumble around you. To be noticed by food critics, you need to be present in various media, and blogs review pages. Michelin will notify you when you are exposed as much as possible. You can also write to them and ask for the inspection. Everyone who asks is usually seen within 12 months of their request. Then you can expect between three and six visits, and you must excel every time. Those visits are in different time with different reviewers. So, if you want to get a star, you need to be consistently awesome in what you do and keep the quality of the products. You also need to have a good value for the many and a charismatic chef!
Getting Michelin star is hard
As you can see, it is not easy to get a Michelin star, and I am totally fine with that. After all, Michelin trademark sets the expectation of foodies on a high level. Readers of Michelin are expecting unconditionally good food, great ambient, top class service and after all incredible experience. You see, there is a difference between a good restaurant and the best restaurant. Sure, in a good restaurant you will get amazing food, made with fresh ingredients, with some complicated techniques or even with some ancient cooking methods. You will eat well, the service will be fine, and you should be satisfied with the experience. Meanwhile, in the best restaurants, you will leave those places with incredible experience and some lasting memories. Vivi and I get those feelings a lot, which means we visit the right places.
These places leave something in our minds even though they don’t have Michelin star. It wasn’t just about the food. It was the whole story behind it. That takes you to the state of mind where you don’t just eat a meal because you are hungry. You perceive food differently. They trick your mind and this is what I expect from a Michelin star restaurant.
Michelin stars aren’t for everyone
There is this “Michelin star” restaurant in Singapore – the Hawker Chan. This place is well known as the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world. Yes, I was very happy about the fact that you don’t have to pay a lofty amount of money to have an incredible experience. For me, it was a great story of a guy who worked hard and here is his well-earned award. However, when we visited this place we were deeply disappointed. The first problem was waiting in the line. I expect from a Michelin awarded restaurant that I will be seated and served as a guest. There is usually a waiting line. However, you make a reservation in advance and you know that once you enter the restaurant they will be happy to see you.
The beginning of a Michelin star-worthy meal shouldn’t be waiting in line as cows before their last walk. And when I say waiting I really mean it. For a queue that had about ten people in front of us, thirty minutes wait is a long time. Especially, if the food is prepared in advance. They were preparing the food for a customer who took away about 40 meals. Yes, the price was low, that is the fact. Indeed, we got what we paid for.
It’s all about food? Our food was bad!
We had Wonton soup and soya sauce chicken noodle. My Wonton soup was a little above the room temperature, but Ian’s noodles were cold as ice. This Wonton soup wasn’t even near the best one we ate in Singapore. The locals were telling us: “This place is overrated”. With many statements like that one, our expectations got lower. In the end, it was still a big disappointment. It is overrated! There is nothing more I can say about the meal we had. So how can a restaurant like this retain a Michelin star? I have my version of the story. Yes, I’m a dreamer who likes to poke fun. There was a great fancy party with some Michelin inspectors as guests. After a few bottles of Chateau Margaux, the fellas got moving to the only thing opened at that late night hour. Chinese Hawker stalls. They got some Tiger beers and noodles with duck and everything was just fine until someone said: “Guys, this is a real Michelin for me, not that finger food we got at the party earlier”. And the debate goes on when the bet was placed. “I bet this Chen will get a Michelin star”. And guess who got the bet…
However, this is just my opinion what Michelin stars should be. And with places like this, they are doing big injustice to restaurants which pay a lot of money to operate their businesses. To those chefs, whose entire families are involved in the restaurants, to those who live and breathe for their restaurants. We ate in dozens of restaurants who should get at least three stars if this one deserves one. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure this Mr. Chen is a good guy, and, as I know, he is still a very humble guy, working all day as he used to. I wish him all the best. However, Michelin is not the right address for him if he doesn’t do something to reach the line that Michelin has set for others. With this one, they made injustice to other Michelin stars restaurants and to their own title.
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