Food is a critical part of daily life for everybody. But when it comes to high end restaurants, one of the most powerful influences is the ratings system of the Michelin Guide. Hawai‘i restaurants are not rated by Michelin, but it’s an important designation for many establishments across Asia. And sometimes it produces surprises. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.
For many chefs, the award of a Michelin star represents the peak of professional achievement.
Actually, three stars would be the peak, but even a single star is pretty high up on the mountain of success.
So many were puzzled by an announcement from a top chef in Singapore this week that he was giving up his two stars and closing his restaurant.
Andre Chiang posted a note on his website saying he did not want to be included in next year’s Michelin Guide to Singapore.
He didn’t give a specific reason, just writing “I want to go back to where I started. I want to go back to cooking, have a balanced life and cook happily.”
Others have talked about the added stress that can come with Michelin stars.
Last month, a French chef said he wanted to give up his three stars because of the “huge pressures” that come with them.
In Hong Kong, the owner of a diner selling Shanghai pan-fried buns was initially thrilled to win a Michelin star last year.
The South China Morning Post reports the restaurant’s sales went up, but so did its rent—by 30 percent.
The Michelin star may be a French invention, but current rankings tilt to the east.
Of the top nine cities with the most Michelin stars, five are in Asia. And three of the top four are in Japan, including the city with the most in the world: Tokyo.