Michelin guide to Tokyo an Asian First
The guidebook often referred to as the ‘gourmands’ bible’ and legendary for its ability to make or break the reputation of high-end restaurants in Europe is soon to be given its first Asian edition. On March 14 Michelin released word that a Tokyo addition of the famous Michelin guide would be released in November 2007.
With about 35 million people living in the Greater Tokyo Area, the city is one of the world’s largest and also home to an estimated 300,000 restaurants. Michelin’s publications director, Jean-Luc Naret, praised the quality of Tokyo’s restaurants at a news conference in Tokyo. “Restaurants here are often very simple — a counter, a kitchen and some stools — but what’s on the plate is really worth three stars,” he said. He added that the criteria for Japan were very different to that in Europe.
Michelin inspectors, both European and Japanese, have been making secret restaurant visits around Tokyo since last April in preparation for the first edition guide. “After some time our team will be entirely Japanese,” Naret said, commenting that the aim of the Michelin guide was to adapt to the culinary culture represented in each region the guide is released.
Japan will become the 22nd country to be the subject of a Michelin guide, and the second outside of Europe – the other being New York. The guide will be printed in both Japanese and English.