|Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, speaks during an online event called "Michelin Star Revelation Seoul 2021: Jewels of Korea," Thursday. Courtesy of Michelin Korea|
By Park Ji-won
|Cover image for "The Michelin Guide Seoul"|
Two upscale restaurants ― La Yeon and Gaon ― won the French food guide's three stars for five consecutive years since the introduction of the book's Seoul version in 2016. Seven two-star restaurants and 23 one-star restaurants, which include four new restaurants, were also announced. Michelin has been awarding stars ranging from one to three after secretly inspecting restaurants from the entire spectrum of the local food scene every year.
Mitou, Muni, L'amant Secret and 7th Door, which won one star each, made their way onto the list for the first time. The French company said Mitou provides sophisticated and unique Omakase cuisines with fresh local and seasonal ingredients while saying Muni provides traditional Japanese cuisine by a skilled chef who trained in Japan and won the Sake sommelier certificate. It added that L'amant Secret provides fresh and friendly Western cuisines with Korean taste, made by a chef who worked in the U.S., and 7th Door offers modern Korean cuisine with fermented ingredients.
Michelin also newly announced two restaurants receiving the Michelin Green Star for using local ingredients and adopting eco-friendly food preparation methods. The two are Korean restaurants Hwanggeum Kongbat and A Flower Blossom on the Rice.
Hwanggeum Kongbat uses the freshest local ingredients such as beef and beans from Sobaek Mountains, pork from Jeju and fish from Tongyeong. It also uses ingredients bought directly from local sellers while minimizing food waste by giving bean curd to farmers for animal feed. A Flower Blossom on the Rice also buys 95 percent ingredients directly from local farmers that gained certificates or met certain levels in certain categories such as organic processes, eco-friendliness, pesticide-free and animal welfare. The restaurant is also a pioneer in providing local ingredients made with eco-friendly farming processes in Bonghwa County, North Gyeongsang Province.
"This Michelin Green Star is a brand new distinction to shed light on the efforts of those at the forefront with their sustainable gastronomy practices, and plays the role in bringing their vision to everyone. Whether they are champions of local and seasonal food, pioneers in the fight against food waste or in homemade vegetable growing, these role model establishments, that can demonstrate a sincere, ambitious and impacting commitment to sustainable gastronomy, are selected on the basis of researches and returns made from the inspectors' fieldwork," Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, said during an online event held to unveil the Michelin-starred restaurant list, Thursday.
The company also gave "The Michelin Young Chef Award" to chef Joseph Lidgerwood of Evett, which also won one star in 2020 for providing creative eateries, while giving "The Michelin Mentor Chef Award" to chef Cho Hee-sook of Hansikgonggan, who is known as the "godmother of Korean food" for enthusiastically sharing her know-how with young chefs through university lectures.
Last week, Michelin announced Bib Gourmand Seoul list which introduces 60 budget-friendly restaurants in Seoul with four new entries this year: vegetarian eatery Base is Nice, Korean-style pub Mr. Ahn's Craft Makgeolli, Japanese-style pub Yakitori Mook and Chinese-style noodle restaurant Niroumianguan.