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Michelin Guide Taipei to hit the shelves in Q1 2018

2017/11/06 19:28:00

Bruno de Feraudy (second left)

Taipei, Nov. 6 (CNA) The Michelin Guide Taipei, also known as the bible for global fine cuisine, will be available in Taiwan in the first quarter of 2018, said Michelin Spokesman Bruno de Feraudy on Monday, offering a glimpse of the highly-secretive inspection process.

Taipei will become the 30th city, region or country the guide covers, which will be published in both Chinese and English, de Feraudy said at a pre-announcement news conference in the capital city.

"The Michelin Guide Taipei will introduce the gourmet food of Taiwan to gourmets all over the world and it gives one more good reason for people to visit Taiwan," he said. "Moreover, it is also a valuable opportunity for good chefs in Taiwan to prove their professional capability to the rest of the world."

The evaluation is currently underway, de Feraudy said, but declined to reveal how many inspectors and visits will be paid to each restaurant.

However, he did say that the inspection team was diverse, including both local and foreign individuals who will make recommendations on hotels and restaurant experiences and are full-time employees of the Michelin Group.

Three tiers of restaurants will be included in the guide: the one, two and three Michelin stars -- representing very good cooking, excellent cooking worth a detour and exceptional cuisine worth a journey, respectively.

The criteria will include the following, he said: quality of ingredients and their preparation, mastery of flavor and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef as reflected in his or her cuisine, consistency between visits, as well as value for money.

The inspectors will file reports about their dining experience, and it will take several meetings to decide whether to grant a restaurant one or more Michelin stars, he said, adding that when there are conflicts between reports, another inspector will be sent for a new opinion.

To maintain their independence, de Feraudy said, inspectors always dine out anonymously and pay for their meals.

They may, however, disclose their identity to the restaurant after a meal in order to ask for more details, but once they do, they will not be assigned to the same restaurant for the next few years to make sure they are not easily identified.

Most inspectors have studied in the best hospitality schools in the world, he said, touting their reliability, as each one dines in 250 restaurants and lives in 160 hotels a year, traveling up to 30,000km on average.

The decoration and services of a restaurant will not be considered in awarding stars, as the evaluation focuses "on the plate and purely on the plate," as de Feraudy put it.

As such, street foods could also be included in the guide, even though that might suggest long queues, he said.

By publishing a guide, the Michelin team will establish a long term relationship with Taipei, de Feraudy said, adding that the guide will be updated annually and there is no plan at the moment to launch similar guides for other cities in Taiwan.

In the Asia Pacific, there are already Michelin guides for Japan, Hong Kong/Macau, Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore, with a Bangkok guide slated for later this year.

Eric Lin (林坤源), secretary of Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, said the publication of Michelin Guide Taipei will be a extraordinary event for Taiwan's tourism sector.

"Taiwan is already renowned for its gourmet food, but to better promote it we need to get connected with the world and introduce an internationally-recognized certification system," Lin said.

In 2011, the English Michelin Green Guide was published in Taiwan, focusing on in-depth travel, rating local attractions and also introducing background on life and customs.

The 388-page guide took a 10-member multinational editorial team more than two years to complete.

The guide lists 38 towns and regions in Taiwan as three-star must-see destinations, 142 as two-star recommended destinations and 138 as one-star interesting destinations.

"The Green Guide has helped a lot to attract tourists especially from the West and we hope the new guide generates even better results," Lin said.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)