Features 3 minutes 05 November 2021

MICHELIN Guide Seoul 2022 Insights: Restaurant Recovery Through Sustainability, Adaptability and Healthier Cuisine

The upcoming MICHELIN Guide Seoul 2022 sheds light on the industry’s efforts to improve the healthy and sustainable gourmet offerings in dynamic Seoul.

The restaurant industry has faced multiple challenges since the outbreak of the coronavirus in 2020 till today. Depending on the prevalent stages of Covid-19 in the community, administrative orders such as restrictions on business hours and operations have changed time and again, leaving many restaurants in great difficulty on the frontline of social distancing.

However, to quote the philosopher Nietzsche, "What doesn't kill me, makes me stronger." While it has been a difficult time for the restaurant industry, there have been some silver linings.

Both suppliers and consumers have turned to sustainability as a way of thriving, which raises the importance of local ingredients and living in an eco-friendly manner. Restaurants have broken the mold to diversify their business strategies by seeking various ways of operations through meal kit production, delivery and take-out – which has helped them stay afloat while reaching new customers.

Although this unprecedented crisis has not yet ended, people from all over the world are doing their best to make wise choices and cope with difficulties. Vaccination rates have increased in each country, and basic hygiene rules such as cough etiquette and hand washing have been firmly established as commonsensical. As expectations grow for a “With-Corona” era, more countries have opened their borders step by step to Koreans, and free movement is gradually becoming possible. Starting 15 November, Singapore is allowing individual and group trips for Koreans under the Vaccinated Travel Lane agreement, while Thailand is also scheduled to allow Koreans to travel without quarantine.

In the upcoming year, restaurants will be developing various ways to provide safer and better food. This trend is expected to lead the industry. Michelin inspectors value the entire ecosystem of the restaurant and collect and consider various inputs other than what’s on the plate. The upcoming MICHELIN Guide Seoul 2022 will introduce restaurants that pay attention to the global environment, health and sustainability.

MICHELIN Guide Green Star
Michelin inspectors collect a variety of information about the restaurants they visit along with the food. Started in 2020, various international editions of the MICHELIN Guide have awarded green stars to restaurants that lead sustainability trends and practice environmental commitments in their daily routine. These restaurants establish high standards of ethical and environmental responsibility, and work with producers and suppliers to reduce waste and reduce or remove plastics and other non-recyclable materials from the supply chain.

The Green Star can be given to MICHELIN-listed restaurants that include Bib Gourmands, Plates or starred establishments. There is no cookie-cutter criteria for being awarded a MICHELIN Green Star because each restaurant has its unique constraints depending on the region and environment. However, creative efforts to practice sustainability, such as by using seasonal ingredients and reducing waste and carbon emissions, are kept under consideration.

A role in the constantly developing gastronomic scene
Seoul's gourmet scene has dynamically developed along with the MICHELIN Guide. Over the past five editions, many restaurants and eateries have been carefully selected and presented to the readers. From Bib Gourmand restaurants where you can enjoy a simple but delicious meal, to the distinction of starred restaurants, our guide has offered hungry diners a rich and varied selection with quality.

It can be observed over the past two years, due to the lack of international travel, that the restaurant industry has gained greater internal motivation for development. Demand for authentic global cuisines has increased, and outstanding chefs have stepped up to the challenge by creating brilliant dishes that stave off the travel bug in the meantime. In addition, chefs are paying more attention to our native vegetables and ingredients produced by local farmers, to provide a variety of options that take into account health and environmental aspects, beyond just skilful dishes.

The restaurant industry has adapted to the crisis
Over the past two years, restaurants around the world have been called on to adapt to more rapid changes than ever. The MICHELIN Guide celebrates the dedicated efforts of these chefs and restaurants; all have been working hard to overcome the crisis with their professional calling and creativity. The MICHELIN Guide releases statistics every week to check the operating status of Michelin-listed restaurants around the world. Currently, more than 96% of restaurants are operating normally, and we expect the situation to improve in the near future with all restaurants operating without restrictions.

Last year, the MICHELIN Star Revelation event was held as an online virtual event. Although chefs couldn’t gather in a physical space, there was no change in the nature of celebrating together with the teams, sharing laughter and building new aspirations. This year, the sixth edition of MICHELIN Guide Seoul will similarly be held as a virtual event to adapt to still-unending Covid-19 restrictions.

The era of living with the coronavirus is at hand. Covid-19 will likely not be completely eliminated, hence the restaurant industry is expected to revitalize in the face of increased vaccination rates, eased business restrictions and more cross-country travel. Despite the difficulties so far, consumers, chefs and restaurant professionals have been adapting to find wiser ways, and are constantly establishing new ideas to create a sustainable and advanced gourmet culture.

Stay tuned for the new selections of MICHELIN Guide Seoul: check out our new Green Star list, new Stars, Plates and Bib Gourmands, and treat yourself to a deserving gourmet journey.


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