Michelin Guides’ international director Gwendal Poullennec shares that inspectors continue to be impressed with innovative cuisines and creative concepts, with 52 restaurants making it into the prestigious Guide this year

Michelin Guides' international director Gwendal Poullennec knows how the past two years have been extremely difficult for the F&B industry. And with the travel and dine-in restrictions easing up, he tells me over Zoom that the inspectors were the first people back on the ground and reviewing the dining establishments which now make up the Bib Gourmand 2022 list as well as the Michelin Guide Singapore 2022 ranking.

“We base it on five universal criteria: quality of the produce, mastery of cooking technique, harmony and balance of flavours (or taste), the personality of the team as expressed on the plate, and consistency,” shares Poullennec, who let on that the inspectors continue to be amazed by the local F&B scene’s creativity and vibrancy.

Here are five things you should know about Singapore's dining scene, according to Poullennec. 

In case you missed it: Michelin Guide Singapore 2022: Read the Full List of Restaurants Here

1. The local F&B scene remains vibrant and dynamic

“Michelin Guide inspectors continue to be impressed with the restaurant industry's resilience. The number of restaurants with Michelin stars grew again to 52 restaurants from last year’s 49. It is a sign that more innovative dining concepts are opening, and some chefs have even succeeded in raising the bar and reaching the next level (in the ranking) with Cloudstreet and Thevar earning two stars.

It is also worth mentioning that when we released the Guide six years ago, there were only 29 restaurants. This is a great testament to the growth of the F&B scene over these years and how the chefs have increased the level and quality of their food offerings.”

Read more: Cooking for Love: What Chefs Eat When Their Partners Cook for Them

2. The pandemic has birthed new dining trends

“The F&B landscape has gotten more diverse with the opening of innovative dining concepts. As diners have become more demanding and don’t compromise on quality, chefs have been improving their offerings. They take more time to source high-quality products, which is also a trend we have witnessed around the world and in Singapore.

3. The pandemic has also accelerated local chefs’ sustainability efforts

“One of the impacts of the pandemic is that the chefs and their teams had some time to reflect on their (sustainability) practices and how they sourced their products and ingredients. And while the local industry still has a lot to do, the chefs are improving in terms of sustainability within the restaurants.  After all, it is the future of gastronomy and an important topic to craft the future of the industry.”

Read more: 12 Most Sustainable Restaurants and Bars in Singapore

4. Labour shortage is a global issue, and we should celebrate the front- and back-of-house

“We have been talking about the pandemic a lot, but more than ever, guests are coming back to the restaurants and this drives a positive change in the industry. However, one of the worldwide challenges in the post-Covid-19 era is labour shortage.

At the Michelin Guide, we have a role to play in celebrating the wonderful jobs that make the culinary landscape what it is today. We do that with the chefs and the back-of-house, and this year, we introduced new awards that put the spotlight on the talented front-of-house teams. We did this to shed some light on these attractive jobs to lead young and talented people to join the industry. We also have the Young Chef Award for the second year, and we hope they will serve as ambassadors for the new generation (to work in restaurants).”

5. More importantly, there is still an appetite for fine dining

“Fine dining lovers are eager to come back to restaurants and spend even more post-Covid-19. They are willing to spend and celebrate with friends over delicious food, which is why there is a demand for fine dining (restaurants)—especially in Singapore. We have more than 30 different cuisine styles in the Michelin Guide, which perfectly encapsulates the diversity of the local F&B scene and the many nationalities that call the island home.”

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