The 5th Anniversary of the MICHELIN Guide Seoul celebrates the “Jewels of Korea”For most, cooking is a necessary skill to keep oneself fed, but there are those who have taken the work of cooking as their calling, to elevate the skill to an art form and share it with people. They are the chefs of the world. MICHELIN Guide Seoul marks the fifth anniversary since its first publication in November 2016. Since then, the MICHELIN Guide has vividly conveyed the dynamic social and cultural changes in the landscape of Seoul and the development of gastronomy in the city. This is a reflection of Michelin’s 120-year commitment to shining the spotlight on the people who contribute to a city’s gastronomic scene even through the toughest times—the chefs and professionals who firmly protect the industry are the light shining in the dark, they are the Jewels of Korea.
MICHELIN Guide Seoul 2021 Star Revelation Digital EventFor the first time in its history, the MICHELIN Guide Seoul 2021 Star Revelation was held as a live digital event, instead of the usual on-site awards, in consideration of the COVID-19 situation. The launch of the latest edition of the guide and the announcement of the newly crowned star restaurants was broadcasted live worldwide at 10 a.m. on 19 November 2020.
Virtually connecting chefs, and industry movers and shakers to the revelation event, the moving moments were vividly delivered to gourmands around the world in real-time. The event was hosted by TV and radio presenter Mina Sohn whose deep understanding of food and culture lent a liveliness to the opening and welcome speeches, the MICHELIN Green Star and Young Chef and Mentor Chef Awards announcements, and the MICHELIN Star revelations.
The Value of Michelin Guide Seoul’s 5th Anniversary from a Global Perspective
While the restaurant industry faces unprecedented challenges amid the Covid-19 crisis, it has not dampened Michelin’s commitment to support and celebrate the resilience of the industry by announcing its selection on November 19.
MICHELIN Guide International Director Gwendal Poullennec introduced the MICHELIN Guide and thanked the chefs of Seoul.
"With more than 30 editions and 15 000 restaurants worldwide, the MICHELIN Guide creates a sense of community among chefs and restaurant teams across the globe. One that is in many ways, like a family of its own.
During this tough period, the MICHELIN Guide has been highlighting the restaurants to the public: our desire to keep on encouraging is stronger than ever. Thanks in particular to the social networks, we engaged our community of 4 million food lovers, as well as chefs, with entertaining content, which allowed everyone to interact in an immediate and friendly way.
As you can see, it has been impossible for me to physically join you today because of the travel restrictions.
Nevertheless, I’m particularly pleased to celebrate with you this morning, in Seoul, the courage and resilience of Chefs that have given their best everyday, even during this unprecedented crisis.
Dear chefs, the whole MICHELIN Guide team has been impressed and grateful for your generosity, shown with this moving “MICHELIN Star heart lunch” operation, which has provided no less than 1500 meals to elder people and covid-19 hospital workers.
I’d like to have an applause time for you…
Even during this tough period, you made the choice of supporting your local community and our inspectors were thrilled to find back your talent and generosity once restaurants reopenings happened I know that inspectors had incredible gastronomic experiences thanks to your passion and your work. Today we’ll celebrate the best of Seoul’s culinary scene and reveal our 2021 selection, and I wish you a pleasant moment with us."
Juheang Lee, Managing Director for Michelin Korea, spoke about the values upheld by the MICHELIN Guide.
"I never imagined that Michelin, a tire-maker, would begin to produce masks and medical devices in the ongoing Covid-19 situation. The publication of the MICHELIN Guide in these unprecedented times is a reminder of how important freedom of movement is and our gratitude goes out to the restaurants, chefs and industry leaders for sharing good faith and exemplary practices that allow the industry to continue thriving. Michelin is a company that values people's safety first; the MICHELIN Guide also upholds this value. I was looking forward to celebrating the 5th anniversary of the MICHELIN Guide Seoul edition in person, but expressing my sentiments online will have to do. However, the discovery and introduction of the city's glittering establishments will continue in the future, so I hope you will continue to build this dream of a safe and vibrant restaurant landscape with Michelin.
The MICHELIN Guide respects taste, quality and sustainability. Ultimately, the MICHELIN Guide will play its part in the pursuit of "Gastronomy & Sustainability." We will continue to promote chefs who inherit traditional values, young chefs who pursue innovative challenges, and restaurants that serve delicious food."
New Features of MICHELIN Guide Seoul 2021
The MICHELIN Guide Seoul marks the fifth anniversary of its publication by introducing a special cover in collaboration with Kakao, South Korea's No. 1 mobile messenger. On the iconic red cover of the 2021 edition is Kakao Friends' signature character, Ryan, enjoying a gourmet trip around Seoul. These are some of the new features in the guide:
‘Eating in Seoul’: A Glossary of Korean Food Terms
This is a glossary of terms that accurately introduce Korean food to the rest of the world based on the Korean language norms compiled by the National Institute of Korean Language showing how the Guide organizes and differentiates Korean notation, Romanization and English.
The MICHELIN Green Star
This distinction highlights the efforts of those operating at the forefront of their field with sustainable gastronomy practices and plays a role in bringing their vision to everyone by preserving natural resources, protecting ecological diversity, implementing sustainable gastronomy with a calling for the application of local food ingredients and reducing food waste.
The Mentor Chef Award
This distinction recognizes a chef who has been passionately training young chefs for the growth of the next generation.
The Young Chef Award
This distinction recognizes a young chef who has been pursuing challenging innovations for more than the past 12 months and has been recognized for his special potential and talent.
The MICHELIN Guide Seoul 2021 selection at a glance
32 MICHELIN-starred restaurants
The MICHELIN Stars identify establishments serving the highest quality of cuisine – taking into account the quality of ingredients, the mastery of techniques and flavors, the levels of creativity and consistency.
The MICHELIN Guide Seoul 2021 features:
- 2 Three Stars : Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey
- 7 Two Stars: Excellent cuisine, worth a detour
- 23 One Star (of which 4 are new) : High-quality cooking, worth a stop
60 Bib Gourmand establishments (of which 4 are new)
This symbol indicates our inspectors’ favorites for good value. These restaurants offer quality cooking for 45,000 KRW or less (excluding drinks).
86 MICHELIN Plate restaurants (of which 17 are new)
The MICHELIN Plate represents good cooking, fresh ingredients that are capably prepared; simply a good meal.
Michelin: A Better Way ForwardThe MICHELIN Guide, which has published more than 30 editions and introduced 15,000 restaurants worldwide, is more determined than ever to develop a global sense of community, and to constantly encourage and create a healthy culture of gastronomy.
On 27 November, following the Star Revelation event, the MICHELIN Guide delivered the Covid-19 sanitary kits to restaurants as a message of gratitude to the chefs and teams who do their best despite the difficult times and to express the commitment of the Michelin Guide to work together with them to overcome this pandemic. The MICHELIN Guide will continue to share and communicate with the dining industry and gastronomic community around the world and strive for growth together.
This Article is translated in English by Julia Lee and sub-editied by Rachel Tan.