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CULTURE | 25-07-2023 13:54

'Anonymous' Michelin visit two provinces, seeking 'stars' of local gastronomy

The prestigious gastronomic guide, considered 'The Bible' of good cuisine, expands to Argentina.

The Michelin Stars, the most important international award for restaurants worldwide and considered as The Bible for local food enthusiasts, have officially arrived in Argentina: this Tuesday, July 25, a presentation ceremony will take place, while the "anonymous inspectors" of the famous guide are touring the country to draw up a list of between 50 and 60 of the most prestigious establishments.

Originating from France and awarded for over a century, these accolades have recognized around 16,000 restaurants worldwide so far. Now, the government has reportedly signed an agreement for three years to select different places from three provinces, believed to be located in Buenos Aires and Mendoza, to be part of the guide.

These French awards, which have been presented for more than a century, have so far recognised some 16,000 restaurants around the world. Now, Argentina became the first Spanish-speaking country in Latin America to be evaluated, with Brazil also having restaurants in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro on the prestigious list.

"The arrival of the Michelin Guide to Argentina is a turning point for our gastronomy and Argentine tourism," said Lammens, while acknowledging that the agreement with Michelin “will become a landmark that will endure for many decades.”

"We work together with the public and private sectors to make our country the leading gastronomic destination in Latin America and one of the most attractive in the world," he added.

On the other hand, Gwendal Poullennec, the international director of the Michelin Guide, highlighted that the two selected Argentine destinations deserve to be discovered and promoted for their "rich culinary heritage shaped by centuries of turbulent history, cultural melting pot and consecutive waves of migrations, an innate sense of hospitality, as well as a true taste for dining."
 
The Michelin Guide includes more than 40 gourmet destinations with their own distinct character, and Argentina joins to showcase its gastronomic offerings, bolstered by the work of Argentine chefs who are recognised worldwide, such as Mauro Colagreco, who won the award with his restaurant Mirazur, located in France.

 

Chosen criteria for Buenos Aires and Mendoza

The evaluation at each gastronomic site is carried out by the judges or "anonymous inspectors" of Michelin, who are full-time employees. Once they dine at a restaurant, posing as regular customers, they meet and pool their different experiences to make the final decision as a team.

Regardless of where the restaurant is located, certain extremely rigorous criteria are taken into account and those deemed to be outstanding are awarded one, two or three Michelin Stars, according to the established requirements.

About the chosen cities, the authorities commented: "The City of Buenos Aires is a dazzling metropolis – one of the largest in South America – offering a wide range of architecture, culture and gastronomy, all bearing witness to its rich history. From elegant restaurants to bistros, Buenos Aires is a world-class destination supported by international and local food lovers, always eager to try new concepts or go out for typical drinks."

"Mendoza offers exceptional landscapes in the Andes Mountains, including breathtaking views from the vineyards. Wine culture has always shaped the region and influenced its picturesque hospitality and art of living, with friendly and welcoming restaurants and world-renowned wineries."

 

Michelin Guide methodology

The selection of restaurants for the Michelin Guide Buenos Aires and Mendoza will be made independently by the anonymous Michelin inspectors following the historical and global methodology of the Guide. Only the quality of the cuisine offered by the restaurants will be evaluated by the inspectors according to the 5 international criteria of the Guide:

  • The quality of the products.
  • The mastery of cooking techniques.
  • The harmony of flavours.
  • The chef's personality reflected in the cuisine.
  • Consistency both over time and throughout the menu.

 

When the Michelin guide was born

The Michelin guide was created in 1900 by André Michelin and at that time it was an advertising guide, which was given away with the purchase of tyres. It also contained other information, such as a list of mechanics, doctors and maps of some cities.

Starting from 1920, the red-colored guide began to be sold, and for the first time, restaurants were included, indicating important information regarding their quality. The first establishment to receive three stars was La Pyramid, Lyon, by chef Fernand Point, in 1931.

It developed gradually until all the current definitions were introduced by 1936. Over time, it expanded to different countries in Europe, reached Asia, and only arrived in the United States in 2005.

Regarding our country, it is estimated that the first edition of the guide will be published in November. Although initially there are only a few participating provinces, the number is expected to grow over time.

 

How restaurants are evaluated

Having one or more Michelin stars means that a restaurant is one of the best in the world. About 2000 restaurants in all the countries covered by the guide have stars.

One star designates a very good restaurant in its category. Two stars indicate first-class quality in its type of cuisine. Three stars, the highest distinction, signify exceptional cuisine that alone justifies the journey.

There is a fourth category called "Bib Gourmand", which refers to restaurants that stand out in some way without having a star. This may be due to their cuisine or their price-quality ratio, among other considerations.

The inspector-judges can also award between one and five cutlery as a qualification to the restaurant in relation to the service, the comfort offered and also the way the customers are treated.

 

– TIMES/PERFIL

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