Allegrini 2018

Michelin Guide 2021, the mirror of starred restaurants after the pandemic

“Restaurants will have to adapt. We will be flexible. The global experience will change”, says Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Guide
Gwendal Poullennec, the international director of Michelin Guides

Even if the critical phase of the emergency caused by the Coronavirus pandemic is now behind us, the consequences of the months of lockdown are felt, in the catering world as well as in many other sectors, certainly not forgetting the starred catering. And it is precisely on the future of the Michelin Guide, one of the most prestigious in the world, that Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guide for two years, speaks in an interview with the newspaper “Corriere della Sera”.
Yes, because despite the general upturn in the restaurant industry, only 33% of Michelin-starred restaurants have reopened their doors (as Winenews also reported in its articles in recent days, ed): “a situation never seen before. But what I can say - explains Poullennec - is what the chefs expect from us: we have heard a lot of them on the phone in recent months, we have heard worries, needs and fears. But they ask us to do what we’ve always done. Not to compromise the value of our judgments, because that’s what’s important to them, that customers trust the guide”.
The 2021 edition will certainly be presented in November, but it is not yet known whether in a virtual or physical event, perhaps in Milan. What is sure is that, to give way to the inspectors to recover the three months of lockdown, it will be in digital at first, and then in the classic paper version. We try, therefore, to maintain as much as possible normality in the judgment: it will certainly be necessary to take into account what this world has gone through and is going through, so also that the food and the way to administer it is different from usual.

“Restaurants will have to adapt”, says Poullennec, “they can simplify the service, but they won't compromise quality, the chefs won’t lose their skills. On the contrary, they will be more creative than ever”. Many, in fact, to keep their business going, have opted for simpler food, choosing to become in some cases local street food, focusing on take away and delivery. “The business model will change, especially at the beginning. We will be flexible - assures the director - we will recognise quality food in whatever form it arrives, and with whatever experience it arrives, both classic and more informal. The global experience could change, yes: we know and we will welcome these transformations. But the important thing is what the customers want, which will be much more local, “internal” than before. And even more demanding: they will want authentic experiences. Eating in a starred restaurant is not a show. They will want commitment to the territory - he concludes - to the producer communities. Sustainability, I am convinced, will be the key to recovery”.

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