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Why you should (or shouldn’t) refer to the Michelin Guide

The Peak team weighs in on the relevance of the famed culinary bible.

The red guide has been an esteemed culinary compass for many a foodie for generations, but in recent times have seen many restaurants and chefs choose to respectfully return their stars, sparking much thought from within the industry itself. The most commonly cited reason – that they may focus on delivering the best dining experience, or that undue pressure has mounted since receiving the vaunted accolade. Some liken it to a double-edged sword. The scope of the guide has also ballooned in the last decade. In light of these developments, we dare ask – should you still look to the Guide for the best eats?

YOU SHOULD.

  Jasmine Tay
Writer
… because it’s interesting to see another perspective on a country’s culinary scene and compare it with others, such as our very own G Restaurant Awards. While there are disagreements over its accuracy, it’s undeniable how pervasive it is as a yardstick for culinary excellence. Still, there are numerous international guides out there – notably, the World’s 50 Best (which also share similar perspectives on restaurants). I wouldn’t rely solely on the Michelin guide for sure. Ultimately, my best sources for recommendations are locals and F&B professionals.

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YOU SHOULDN’T.

What I want from my dining experience is different from what the inspectors evaluate. Good food, yes, but also scintillating conversation and camaraderie. I’ve been to multi-starred Michelin restaurants that are stuffy and serious, where you’re more obliged to admire the food than have fun with your dining companions.  
Jennifer Chen
Editor
The guide has disappointed me on a few occasions. Geographical inconsistencies across international editions of the guide mean that a two-Michelin-star establishment in Hong Kong varies vastly in quality from a restaurant in France that has been awarded the same. In my experience, recommendations from chefs or other industry folk have led me to some of my most satisfying meals.  Denise Kok
Features Editor
I don’t because I’m not one of those avowed foodies whose goal in life is to tick off every establishment on the “World’s Best Restaurant” lists. That said, I’m not impervious to the Michelin brand name, and if I’ve already decided to visit a new restaurant, finding out that it has a Michelin star or three would definitely heighten my expectations and anticipation.  
Lynette Koh
Watches & Fashion Editor
 Not yet. Until the diversity of Michelin inspectors mirrors the breadth of cuisines and cultures under the lens each year, the scales are always going to be tipped towards what is familiar, rather than what is fantastic.  
Liao Xiangjun
Features Writer

Have your say here.

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