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Le Palais stands as sole 3-star restaurant in Michelin Guide Taipei

2018/03/14 21:15

Ken Chan (陳偉強, right)

Taipei, March 14 (CNA) Cantonese restaurant Le Palais was the only establishment to receive a three-star rating when Michelin unveiled its first gourmet food guide in Taipei on Wednesday to cheers from hundreds of catering business representatives and food critics.

"It's a huge honor, but I also feel great pressure to live up to the three-star accolade," said Ken Chan (陳偉強), executive chef of Le Palais, who moved to Taiwan from Macau nearly 20 years ago.

Chan and his team "have mastered the art of cooking a variety of Chinese cuisine types," Michelin said.

"(Le Palais') baked egg custard tarts are sublime," said Michael Ellis, International Director of the Michelin guides. "All of the chef's creations have won inspectors over."

The restaurant, located in Datong District and known for its Cantonese-style crispy roast duck, lobster and tofu, was the only one in Taipei to receive a Michelin three-star rating, which denotes "exceptional cuisine worth a journey."

In the two-star category that recommends excellent cooking worth a detour, the guide listed Japanese contemporary restaurant RyuGin and Chinese restaurant The Guest House, both located in the city's Zhongshan District.

RyuGin, like its flagship establishment in Tokyo, delivers "creative, modern Japanese cuisine but uses the best of the island's ingredients and introduces subtle elements of Taiwanese gastronomy to the dishes," the Michelin guide said.

The Guest House, meanwhile, was recommended for its Hunan and Sichuan flavors but with a Taiwanese twist, according to the guide.

It also gave a one-star rating, which represents very good cooking, to 17 restaurants that feature a wide range of cuisines, including European restaurants MUME and Longtail, and French restaurants L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and La Cocotte by Fabien Vergé.

Olivier Jean, chef de cuisine at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, told CNA that he was sharing the honor with a 16-member team.

"We are always in an intense situation in the kitchen," he said "But I teach my team how to drive the pressure, how to manage the pressure, that pressure can be your friend."

Also speaking to CNA, Fabien Vergé of La Cocotte by Fabien Vergé said the Michelin star was a wonderful recognition of his 10 years of efforts in the restaurant, which he and his wife run.

"I'd say my dishes are 99 percent French and 1 percent traveling," he said, adding that he gets constant inspiration from countries like Taiwan and Japan, among others.

Among the other one-star winners was RAW, which belongs to renowned Taiwanese chef André Chiang (江振誠) who recently closed his two-star Restaurant André in Singapore to return to Taiwan.

In the one-star category, the only restaurants featuring Taiwanese cuisine were Golden Formosa and Ming Fu.

The other one-star listings were TaÏrroir, Danny's Steakhouse, Da-Wan barbeque, Hangzhou cuisine restaurant Tien Hsiang Lo, Cantonese restaurants Ya Ge and Three Coins, and Japanese restaurants Kitcho, Ken An Ho, Sushi Nomura, and Sushi Ryu.

The launch of the Michelin Guide Taipei is expected to help boost Taiwan's tourism sector, which has been seeing 5-10 percent growth in the number of foreign visitor arrivals each year, according Eric Lin (林坤源), secretary of Taiwan's Tourism Bureau.

He said the bureau had been trying to get Michelin team to rate gourmet food in Taiwan since 2011, when the English Michelin Green Guide was published in Taiwan, focusing on in-depth travel, rating local attractions and giving background information on life and customs in the country.

Lin confirmed that the tourism bureau had sponsored the Michelin Guide Taipei 2018, known as the Red Guide, but he declined to disclose how much was spent.

The bureau, however, did not interfere in the rating process in any way, he said.

According to the Red Guide, "the selection is made with complete independence. Entry into the guide is free. All decisions are discussed with the editor and our awards are considered at an international level."

Wednesday's launch was attended by hundreds of people, including chefs, caters and food critics.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)Enditem/pc