For many of us, the word Michelin conjures up images of posh dining, precious and precocious chefs, prohibitively expensive meals, stingy portions and sheer exclusivity. However, contrary to some perceptions, Michelin is in fact quite approachable.
Starting from its humble beginnings over a century ago, when two French brothers came up with a novel way to peddle their tires to a country which only had 300 automobiles, Michelin Guide was born to recommend motorists to restaurants along the route, in hopes of encouraging them to use their vehicles.
It has since evolved to become THE standard to which world chefs aspire and restaurants covet.
While not many restaurants in Chiang Mai are confident enough to say that they expect to receive a star rating, there is hope. After all, Jay Fai in Bangkok, received a 1 star rating from Michelin for her crab omelettes.
Michelin also has a special category called Bib Gourmand to honour restaurants and street stalls which have impeccable standards of good food at low prices and there are many people who have their fingers crossed for their favourite food vendors.
Spoon&Fork had a little chat with Gaëlle Van Hieu, Head of Marketing, communication and sales for The Michelin Guide Thailand who is leading the Michelin Guide business model transformation in South-East Asia, who said, “I think that Chiang Mai is very interesting for the roadmap of the Michelin Guide because of the different experiences that people go to. Bangkok is a big city, a metropolis like Dubai or Pairs where you can have fine dining of good quality, but Chiang Mai has unique culture and nature. It is closer to nature. There is a potential and it is a journey. You do not become a Michelin star like this,” she snaps her finger, “you start, and that is the benefit of the guide, it creates a motivation. When people in the profession know that it is in your city, then young talented and ambitious chefs, they say OK, I will give my best and I will be recognised. It motivates.”