Why UAE chefs want to see a 'Michelin Guide' in Australia, India and South Africa next

Of the countries that don’t yet have their own guide, Australia may well be the most surprising of them all

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The Michelin Guide Dubai was unveiled on Tuesday, with 11 restaurants laying claim to the coveted stars. The guide was a long time coming to our shores, with foodies rooting for it for years on end.

Scroll through the gallery above to see which Dubai restaurants got Michelin stars

Another destination that UAE chefs would like Michelin to train its sights on is Australia.

Chef Gregoire Berger of Ossiano — which won one stars as part of the first Dubai guide — tells The National: “I think it’s totally crazy it still doesn’t have a Michelin presence. For decades, Australia has been home to some absolutely stunning and very special restaurants, and the country has an endemic gastronomy scene that’s completely unique to it.”

Brae in Birregurra and Attica in Melbourne are two restaurants that Carlos Frunze, executive chef at Teible, would place his bets on. “Brae deserves a Michelin star for its philosophy of showing respect to nature by using local and seasonal ingredients. Chef Dan Hunter has his own farm on-site and all the produce is presented on the plate indiscriminately.

"Attica, too, has a special place in my heart, as its approach is like no other in the world.”

Celebrity chef Greg Malouf, who was born in Melbourne to Lebanese parents, names his country of birth as deserving of its own Michelin Guide. “The parameters are consistency, quality, flavour and technique. The major cities in Australia have no problem in capturing the essence of these Michelin-set criteria. The country is well represented by different food cultures at the highest level, and the produce absolutely shines,” says Malouf, whose latest project involved curating the menu of Bushra by Buddha-Bar at Grosvenor House, Dubai.

Akmal Anuar is another in-the-know chef who believes Australian restaurants deserve to be in the Michelin Guide. The founder of 11 Woodfire and former chef of 3Fils (which won the top spot on Mena’s 50 Best Restaurants list) says: “Australia is a self-sufficient country with its own agriculture and marine life. It constantly emphasises sustainability.

“Old-generation chefs such as Tetsuya Wakuda and Neil Perry changed the dynamics of gastronomy, most notably in Sydney, and inspired the rest of the country to use local produce, while new-generation chefs, such as Dan Hunter of Brae and Ben Shewry of Attica, showcase interesting techniques as well as incorporating seasonal produce into their menus.”

Other countries that deserve a 'Michelin Guide'

Places such as India, Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam — the cuisines of all of which are making waves across the globe — are also yet to welcome the Michelin Guide.

Other than Australia, chef Berger says he’d like to see South Africa represented in the guide. “The country has a deep-rooted culinary identity that’s extremely complex and interesting. The fine-dining scene has been on the rise over the past decade, and the country’s unique mix of cultures and fantastic produce have given rise to a cuisine I don’t think can be found anywhere else in the world.”

Meanwhile, chef Jitin Joshi, who worked at the Michelin-starred Benares restaurant in Mayfair, London, hopes the guide will eventually go to India and draw attention to the country’s diverse flavours.

“Once Michelin covers places like India and the Middle East, it will shed light on the great restaurants operating in those regions, which will further uplift their cuisines, work wonders for tourism and motivate chefs to raise the bar,” says Joshi.

Teible’s chef Frunze says he’d like to see a Michelin Guide for Mexico. “One of my favourite restaurants is Pujol, where chef Enrique Olvera offers a taco omakase using foraged ingredients and traditions to produce the most amazing meals," says Frunze.

“Another restaurant I’d vote for would be Sud777, where chef Edgar Nunez reinterprets Mexican home-cooked classics into fine dining.

“Mexico as a whole has such a unique heritage and great gastronomic history. Chefs are taking on the challenge of bringing forgotten techniques and recipes back to life and interpreting them in modern ways.”

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Updated: June 21, 2022, 9:12 AM