The famed Michelin Guide is finally coming the Middle East! In June, Dubai will officially be the first city in the region to be home to the famous food guide. What is the Michelin guide, how did it come to be, and how will it impact the region’s food and beverage industry? Read on to find out!
History of the Michelin Guide
In early 1900s France, the Michelin Tire company printed a guide map that targeted bikers and travelers and showcased information such as nearby restaurants, hotels and gas stations as well as some useful instructions like how to change a tire. The guide was aimed at encouraging wider country travel thus boosting the company’s tire sales.
As time passed, the guide evolved to be more restaurant-focused and raised the bar of the industry, becoming the most renowned food critique guide in the world. Today, it has expanded to 23 countries worldwide, with the top 5 being:
- France (623 restaurants)
- Japan (577 restaurants)
- Italy (374 restaurants)
- Germany (307 restaurants)
- USA (169 restaurants)
Michelin Guide Selection Criteria
The Michelin Guide awards deserving restaurants between 1 and 3 stars showcasing the quality of the experience, described as such:
- One Michelin Star: High-quality cooking that is worth a stop.
- Two Michelin Stars: Excellent cooking that is worth a detour.
- Three Michelin Stars: Exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey.
Stars are awarded solely based on the food quality as Michelin inspectors visit the restaurant anonymously and rate the restaurant following these criteria:
- The quality of the ingredients
- The mastery of cooking
- The harmony of flavors
- The personality of the chef reflected through the cuisine
- The consistency both over time and across the entire menu
The guide also includes a number of “covers” ranging from 1 to 5, indicating the “comfort and quality” of the restaurant, essentially an indicator of the service level. Being awarded one star is an incredible feat by itself, and restaurants strive to maintain the quality of their food as the guide is renewed every year.
In addition to the regular star-based rating, the Bib Gourmand will also be implemented in Dubai: this award is given to restaurants that serve high-quality food at a lower price tag, usually serving a simpler style of cooking.
The Guide is going to be released sometime in June and will only be available in digital form on the Michelin website and app.
Gault&Millau also steps in
As well as the Michelin Guide, it has been announced that another renowned food critique brands is settling in the UAE nationwide; the famous Gault&Millau will launch in the first half of 2022 and will be holding their annual gala, publishing guides and more.
The Impact of the Michelin Guide
With the Michelin inspectors starting to roam around the Dubai restaurant scene and the guide releasing in June, the question arises as to how this will affect the local hospitality industry.
It is the dream of countless aspiring chefs to have their restaurants be featured on the guide, there is therefore no doubt that many of them will take the opportunity to double down on crafting the best dishes they possibly can. An overall improvement in innovation, quality of service, creativity in dishes and a resurgence in chefs’ passion is likely to be observed.
Another likely outcome is the sight of more and more high-end restaurants popping up across the city, with talented chefs from the Middle East rushing to Dubai desperate to have their restaurant’s name featured in the guide.