(East-West Question) International Director of the Michelin Guide: How does authoritative evaluation promote the fusion of Eastern and Western cuisines?

  China News Agency, Paris, April 26th: How does authoritative evaluation promote the fusion of Eastern and Western cuisine?

  ——Interview with Gwenda Prenek, International Director of the Michelin Guide

  China News Agency reporter Li Yang

  The Michelin Guide is the world-renowned "food bible" that assigns stars to the world's top restaurants.

Since the guide was published in France in 1900, it has always adhered to the promises of anonymous visits, independent and objective, and annual updates, and has won the respect of the food industry.

  The Michelin Guide grades restaurants with stars, and the stars are divided into three levels. One star means "you might as well try it", two stars means "it is worth visiting from afar", and three stars means "it is worth a special visit" .

  In 2016, the "Michelin Guide" launched the Chinese mainland city version for the first time, and now it is continuously updated for Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Sichuan and other mainland Chinese city guides.

In addition to the city guides for Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul and other cities launched by the Michelin Guide earlier, the Michelin Guide for Asian Cuisine has begun to take shape.

  Gwenda Pleinec, the international director of the "Michelin Guide", recently accepted an exclusive interview with China News Agency "East and West Questions" in Cognac, a famous city in southwestern France, explaining how the "Michelin Guide" as an authoritative food evaluation promotes Eastern and Western cuisines blend.

The following is a summary of the interview transcript:

China News Service: At present, the impact of the new crown epidemic on the catering industry has attracted much attention.

The restaurant industry is slowly recovering from the most difficult period, but still faces challenges.

How will the catering industry develop after the epidemic?

How does the Michelin Guide view the recovery process of the restaurant industry?

Pleineck:

The impact of the new crown epidemic on the restaurant industry is real.

The field investigators of the "Michelin Guide" observed the difficulties faced by many restaurants. The most prominent problem is that due to the epidemic prevention and control measures, many restaurants were once caught in the cycle of "opening - closing - reopening - closing again" and were forced to change their operations. Way.

But it may also mean an opportunity to overcome tough challenges.

Caterers need to stop, think about catering practices, and work with their teams to improve menus and serve customers better.

  As restaurants gradually resume operations, our 2021 fieldwork found that some restaurants have become more focused, innovative, and customer-focused.

For example, the menu has been streamlined and designed to focus, while continuing to maintain the quality of the dishes.

In many parts of the world, despite the impact of the epidemic, many restaurants are still tirelessly pursuing excellent quality.

Signs that read "restaurants open, only take-out or self-pickup" hang on the streets of Silicon Valley in the United States.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Liu Guanguan

China News Service: The Michelin Guide announced the 2022 Beijing restaurant list in January.

You spoke highly of Beijing restaurants at the release ceremony of the list, saying that Beijing demonstrates the charm and potential of the city of food.

Before the epidemic, you had visited Beijing and attended the launch ceremony of the list of Beijing restaurants in the Michelin Guide.

What is your impression of the local restaurants in Beijing?

Pleineck:

Because of the epidemic, I can't go to Beijing (Pleeneck delivered a video speech for the launch ceremony of the "Michelin Guide" 2022 Beijing restaurant list in Beijing), but the "Michelin Guide" in Beijing and Asia The work team can still carry out the relevant work.

They found a number of new high-quality restaurants in Beijing impressive, showing that Beijing's restaurant industry is still very dynamic.

This is reflected in our 2022 Beijing Michelin Guide.

  We as food lovers are very interested in the diversity of local Beijing dishes.

As the capital of China, Beijing obviously has the conditions to display the delicacies of various parts of China, and the local delicacies are also affecting the local food culture in Beijing.

Besides Beijing, the restaurant industry is booming in some other big cities in China, and the Michelin Guide is also expanding to other cities.

The prospects of the catering industry in many parts of China are very bright.

China News Service reporter: There are two Michelin-starred restaurants in Beijing, namely "Jing Zhao Yin" and "Xin Rong Ji (Xinyuan South Road)", which are two top Chinese restaurants with distinctive features.

"Jing Zhao Yin" is a vegetarian restaurant, while "Xin Rong Ji (Xinyuan South Road)" specializes in Taizhou cuisine.

Why are these two very different restaurants awarded three Michelin stars?

Pleineck:

The selection and recommendation of restaurants with three Michelin stars is done by the Michelin Guide team and is the result of collective work.

I don't make any comments about restaurants myself, but I would like to point out that the Michelin Guide does its utmost to ensure that the selection criteria and quality of three Michelin restaurants are the same all over the world.

There should be no difference in the quality of a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Beijing and a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Shanghai, New York, and Paris.

  In fact, among the three-star restaurants recommended by the "Michelin Guide", there are various styles of dishes, ranging from vegetarian styles like Beijing's three-star Michelin restaurant, local cuisine, Japanese cuisine, French traditional style, French innovation and so on.

The "Michelin Guide 2020 Beijing" was released, and Xin Rong Ji (Xinyuan South Road) was selected as a three-star Michelin restaurant.

The picture shows a group photo of representatives of selected Michelin-starred restaurants at the launch ceremony in Beijing.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Zhang Yu

China News Service: At present, in East Asia, including Hong Kong and Macau, many Michelin-starred restaurants are French restaurants, such as Tianchao French Restaurant in Macau, Caprice Restaurant in Hong Kong and Les Amis Restaurant in Singapore.

How does French cuisine adapt and satisfy the tastes of East Asian customers?

Pleineck:

The Michelin Guide is further expanding the global gastronomy map, which coincides with the global development of French cuisine.

We need to think at different levels.

  The perspective should not be limited to elements such as French food, French products, French cooking techniques, etc.

A French restaurant actually contains all of the above elements; in addition to key elements such as food and cooking techniques, it should also incorporate an understanding of the French way of life, as well as the training of French chefs.

I believe that there will be more and more Michelin-starred restaurants incorporating French flavors in the future, so that the French dining style will be accepted and loved by food lovers in more regions of the world, including East Asia.

Chefs demonstrate their gourmet craftsmanship at the 2022 Michelin Guide French edition launch party.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Li Yang

China News Service: What is the development plan of the Michelin Guide for China's urban guide?

Will you consider launching the Chinese version of the Michelin Guide like the French version, integrating all Chinese city guides into one book?

Pleineck:

The Michelin Guide is willing to continue to expand the "geographical map" of Chinese cuisine and further recognize more local Chinese dishes.

The communication and interaction between the Michelin Guide and the local people in China is successful and impressive.

These people are very supportive of local dishes, allowing us to see the talent and skills of the Chinese food industry once again, and giving the Michelin Guide more opportunities to introduce Chinese food to the world.

  The "Michelin Guide" still focuses on China's big cities. We believe that it is a reasonable arrangement to start from China's big cities and observe China's food culture.

Because of China's vast territory, large cities have a sufficient number and variety of restaurants to choose from, which is also the starting point for food evaluation and promotion.

  At present, we are working hard to develop the mobile client business of the "Michelin Guide". You can easily find all the information about Chinese Michelin restaurants from the mobile client, and you can further inquire about different categories of Chinese cuisine, such as Cantonese cuisine, Shandong cuisine, etc.

  Looking back at the history of the Michelin Guide, which started out as a thin booklet in 1900, it provided a lot of practical information.

The Michelin Guide is now a lot thicker, but we still want to devote more space to restaurant introductions.

The book print edition of the Michelin Guide, updated annually, is iconic and iconic to the guide.

On the mobile app of the Michelin Guide, you can find more real-time updated information, which is necessary to adapt to the fast-paced life of the current information age. The new crown epidemic has also accelerated the popularity of mobile app use.

Since the outbreak, the Michelin Guide's mobile client downloads, web pages and social media platform views such as WeChat have all increased, including of course the increase in the number of users from China.

A Chinese restaurant in Paris that has been included in the Bib Gourmand list of the French edition of the Michelin Guide.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Li Yang

China News Service: Chinese cuisine has become more and more popular in France in recent years.

But there are still very few starred Chinese restaurants in the French edition of the Michelin Guide.

How should Chinese restaurants in France further develop and gain more recognition from France and the world?

Pleineck:

This question is actually observing the "going out of Chinese food", and observing the development and progress of Chinese food from the perspective of the world.

I think there is still a lack of awareness of Chinese food in the world today.

For example, if you observe local food lovers from a European perspective, their first reaction to food may be French, Italian, or even Japanese food. Chinese food is not yet ranked high in their minds.

Many people are still unaware of the richness and diversity of Chinese cuisine, and there are many stories behind Chinese cuisine to be discovered.

  In my opinion, the promotion of Chinese food in the world takes time and attention.

Talking about Japanese food 10 years ago may feel similar to talking about Chinese food now, but now Japanese food is popular in France.

Over time, the status of Chinese food in people's hearts will definitely change.

  Just as the Japanese version of the Michelin Guide has successfully helped Japanese cuisine to go out of Japan, the Chinese urban version of the Michelin Guide can also help Chinese cuisine to further open up the international market, let more people know about high-quality Chinese restaurants, and let highly skilled Chinese chefs have More opportunities to run restaurants in other parts of the world, making Chinese food more popular in the world.

(Finish)

Interviewee Profile:

  Gwenda Plenek, the current international director of the Michelin Guide, the world's most authoritative food critic, is the actual head of the Michelin Guide team.

Pleineck has unique insights into global cuisine. He has visited China many times and announced the list of Michelin-starred restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai and other places.

He is also the direct promoter of the "Michelin Guide" going to Asia and China, helping Chinese food go to the world

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