Is Dubai about to get its first Michelin-starred restaurant? Guide announces UAE event

The French fine-dining guide has sent out an invite to the emirate's foodies, as rumours that it's coming to the UAE resurface

In the next two weeks, Michelin is hosting an event in Dubai, but is yet to confirm if it is launching a UAE 'Michelin Guide'. Getty Images
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The lauded Michelin Guide has been turned to for more than 100 years, directing diners to the finest restaurants in destinations around the world.

Despite having a crop of top-quality restaurants, the UAE still does not have a guide of its own. But that could be set to change.

An invite has been sent out to foodies on behalf of Michelin Guide, inviting them to an event at Dubai's Museum of the Future within the next two weeks.

No other information has been disclosed as yet.

The launch of a UAE Michelin Guide would "only be a positive thing for the restaurant scene", Nick Alvis, chef patron at folly, tells The National.

"The guide is known to help increase business due to the interest and hype associated with it and it keeps getting bigger with the annual Michelin award celebrations and the much-anticipated release of the new entries in every new guide."

This is echoed by Naim Maadad, chief executive at Gates Hospitality, who describes the possible arrival as highlighting "the importance of the gastronomy sector and the contribution of the industry to the greater economy".

The topic of a UAE Michelin Guide is not new. In 2019, chef Vineet Bhatia, behind Indego by Vineet at Grosvenor House Dubai, told The National: "I was asked the question [about whether or not the guide will come] three or four years back and I remember saying there's not much here that deserves a star.

"Now, lots of chefs are coming in ... There is so much happening, it’s just a matter of time before Michelin looks at it."

The 2020 'Michelin Guide', the oldest European hotels and restaurants reference guide. AFP

Are chefs or restaurants awarded Michelin stars?

Restaurants, not individual chefs, are awarded Michelin stars, which means that top-tier chefs from around the world can be behind several Michelin-starred properties.

Three is the most Michelin stars one restaurant can hold.

The stars are defined as:

  • One Michelin Star: "A very good restaurant in its category"
  • Two Michelin Stars: "Excellent cooking, worth a detour"
  • Three Michelin Stars: "Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey"

Joel Robuchon, who died in 2018, is the most decorated chef and restaurateur to date; his restaurants had a combined 32 Michelin stars.

Michelin does not only award fine-dining establishments. In 2016, Liao Fan Hawker Chan in Singapore was awarded one Michelin star. However, it lost it in 2021. Munshi Ahmed for The National

Which countries have Michelin Guides?

There are currently 28 Michelin Guides for destinations in 35 countries. Some guides are city specific, such as those for Shanghai, New York City and London. Others are countrywide, including those for France, Italy, Great Britain and Ireland.

There is also a selection of broader guides, such as Eating Out in Pubs and the Main Cities of Europe.

Countries included in the current Michelin Guide series are:

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Brazil
  4. China Mainland
  5. Croatia
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Denmark
  8. Finland
  9. France
  10. Germany
  11. Greece
  12. Hong Kong
  13. Hungary
  14. Iceland
  15. Italy
  16. Japan
  17. Luxembourg
  18. Macau
  19. Malta
  20. Netherlands
  21. Norway
  22. Poland
  23. Portugal
  24. Republic of Ireland
  25. Serbia
  26. Singapore
  27. Slovenia
  28. South Korea
  29. Spain
  30. Sweden
  31. Switzerland
  32. Taiwan
  33. Thailand
  34. UK
  35. US

Is the 'Michelin Guide' run by the tyre manufacturer?

The Michelin Guide has been published by French tyre manufacturer Michelin since 1904.

The guide was launched at the turn of the 20th century, when there was "fewer than 3,000 cars in France", according to Michelin. Its aim was to get people driving to restaurants, thus using the primary Michelin product, tyres.

"In order to help motorists develop their trips — thereby boosting car sales and in turn, tyre purchases — the Michelin brothers produced a small guide filled with handy information for travellers, such as maps, information on how to change a tyre, where to fill up on petrol, and wonderfully — for the traveller in search of respite from the adventures of the day — a listing of places to eat or take shelter for the night," the Michelin website explains.

"In 1926, the guide began to award stars for fine-dining establishments, initially marking them only with a single star. Five years later, a hierarchy of zero, one, two, and three stars was introduced, and in 1936, the criteria for the starred rankings were published."

Updated: March 29, 2022, 7:55 AM
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