For a guide that started out as a mere directory for motorists looking for a quick meal or a place to lay their head, the Michelin Guide we know today has far surpassed its humble beginnings. With an arsenal of 25 guides spanning 24 countries, the lauded food bible is almost always the last word in the ever-fickle world of dining. Restaurants that have earned their stars can count on seeing a steady stream of local and international diners charging through their doors. But with great star-power comes great responsibility. The immense pressure to keep service well-oiled and the kitchen running with military precision has and will send knives flying across the pass.

Following the news that Singapore will receive its inaugural Michelin Guide in the second half of 2016, a general celebratory air has descended upon our little red dot. As with every dining guide out there, the Michelin Guide comes to us with its fair share of controversy. Will it cast the mould for textbook-perfect restaurants in Singapore? Would its international stable of inspectors possess the culinary knowledge and palate to tackle the diverse range of cuisines here? What about the inclusion of street food, the very basis of food culture here in Singapore?

We turn to some of the top chefs in the city for their thoughts on the guide and predictions for the restaurants likely to make the cut. 

 

Paul Longworth, Chef and partner at Rhubarb Le Restaurant

Paul Longworth, restaurant le rhubarb, michelin guide singapore

What does the guide mean for the dining scene in Singapore?

Quite simply, international recognition. Singapore has a buzzing food scene which has grown incredibly over the past five years. Having its own guide will help to set international standards and encourage consistency. In my opinion, it's a win-win situation. The guide will help with attracting potential customers and aid in the employment and retention of staff. I also hope that all cuisines across the spectrum will be covered. Given the diverse food culture here, it is a great opportunity to do just that.

Are there any downsides to the guide? 

Yes, there are many. Firstly, there is and always will be great pressure to not only get a rating but to keep it. Bearing in mind that even though it has a very thorough evaluation system, it all comes down to people's opinions. This, just like the industry we work in, will never please everyone. Secondly, dining in Singapore can be expensive, I really hope that restaurants here will not use this as an excuse to increase prices.

In your opinion, which three restaurants should be included in the guide?

I do believe that there are many, many restaurants here that should be in the guide. But if you're asking me about stars, I would like to highlight Tippling Club, Odette, and Les Amis.  

The guide will help with attracting potential customers and aid in the employment and retention of staff. 

David Pynt, Executive Chef of Burnt Ends

David Pynt, Dave pynt, burnt ends, michelin guide singapore 

What does the guide mean for the dining scene in Singapore?

The Michelin guide traditionally brings a set of standards to restaurants. If restaurants meet those standards, they make the guide. Therefore, it will provide a transparent set of guidelines for what customers can expect when they dine at a Michelin-rated restaurant.

Are there any downsides to the guide? 

I don't think so. It is a pretty straightforward guide that doesn't play to favourites but relies instead on ticking all the right boxes to garner a rating.

In your opinion, which three restaurants should be included in the guide?

Restaurant André, Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck, and CUT by Wolfgang Puck.

 

André Chiang, Chef and Co-Owner of Restaurant André

Andre Chiang, Restaurant Andre, Michelin Guide Singapore 

What does the guide mean for the dining scene in Singapore?

It'll push all the restaurants and chefs in Singapore to upgrade the quality of their cuisine and level of service. It can only be good for the country and will definitely bring Singapore to new heights as the culinary captial of Asia.  

Are there any downsides to the guide? 

The guides in Japan, Hong Kong, and Macau all have their fair share of critics. Regardless of where the guide ends up, the critics will always have something to say. It's more important for each city to assess what the critics have to say and balance that against what is good for the city and what the city ultimately needs. That being said, it is necessary to have the guide in Singapore and it can only be a good thing.

In your opinion, which three restaurants should be included in the guide?

This is beyond my reach, Michelin has a very clear guideline and criteria for its accolades and I frankly have no idea. 

 

Jason Tan, Chef at Corner House

Jason Tan, Cornerhouse, Michelin guide Singapore

What does the guide mean for the dining scene in Singapore?

In general, the entrance of the Michelin Guide in Singapore is positive for our dining scene and further strengthens our regional and global position in the world of gastronomy. Being the oldest and most established food guide that's recognised internationally, it serves as a benchmark for diners around the world to 'view' our restaurants on an international platform. For chefs, it is a form of international recognition for the hard work, dedication and commitment we put into our craft. Singapore-based chefs as a whole will receive a new level of recognition. It should also improve the overall standards of our restaurants and raise the dining experience for Singapore diners as a whole. 

Are there any downsides to the guide?

In general, each guide has its own set of criteria. If a restaurant fails to receive a star, it does not necessarily mean that it is not a good restaurant. As such, much of the publicity may be directed away from the restaurant at the initial stage. With the initial launch of the guide, restaurants here may see a fluctuation of business from both local and overseas diners towards restaurants that are recognised by the guide. This may affect some businesses initially, but if we're to predict things based on how the Hong Kong market reacted to their guide, business here should stabilise again after two to three years.

In your opinion, which three restaurants should be included in the guide?

Joël Robuchon Restaurant, Les Amis, and Restaurant André.

If a restaurant fails to receive a star, it does not necessarily mean that it is not a good restaurant.

Ivan Brehm, Executive Head Chef at Bacchanalia

Ivan Brehm, Bacchanalia, Robin Thang, Michelin Guide Singapore

What does the guide mean for the dining scene in Singapore?

It's a great addition to the bustling restaurant scene here and it helps to establish Singapore as a food destination.  

Are there any downsides to the guide? 

As objective as it tries to be, Michelin guides are never published without controversy.  

In your opinion, which three restaurants should be included in the guide? 

No comments (;

 

Chef Yong Bing Ngen, Chef-Owner of Majestic Restaurant, JING Seafood Restaurant and Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant

Chef Yong Bing Ngen

What does the guide mean for the dining scene in Singapore?

The guide will definitely be a motivating force that pushes F&B operators to perform better. Being an internationally recognised guide, an inclusion in it ascertains the status and positioning of any restaurant. 

Are there any downsides to the guide? 

Restaurants may place too much emphasis and try too hard to obtain a star. Whether or not there is a Michelin guide, F&B operators should continue to focus on diners and maintain their usual quality and service.

In your opinion, which three restaurants should be included in the guide?

Restaurant André, Sin Huat Seafood Restaurant (Geylang Road) and Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant.