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Foreign chefs boost Hong Kong's Michelin stars

[HONG KONG] Hong Kong has boosted its number of starred restaurants due to an influx of foreign chefs, Michelin said Friday as it released its 2015 guide for the southern Chinese city.

Michelin awarded a host of chefs from abroad new stars, with judges saying the former British colony's seven million residents are becoming more adventurous when it comes to food.

Frenchman Olivier Elzer's 'Seasons' was handed one star just a few months after opening while 'Nur', 'Upper Modern Bistro' and 'Akrame' were other newly-anointed restaurants where foreign-born chefs ply their trade.

"The selection in the 2015 guide... shows to what extent Hong Kong is increasingly attractive to young foreign chefs, more and more of whom are moving to the city or opening their own restaurant after training in other Hong Kong restaurants," said Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin guides.

Ellis added that foreign chefs were attracted to Hong Kong because there is a culture of eating out and locals, who often live in cramped apartments, liked to try different cuisines.

French chef Akrame Benallal said he opened his eponymous restaurant in Hong Kong because it was a route into the Chinese market.

Seven establishments retained their three stars, including French chef Joel Robuchon's 'L'Atelier' and 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo, where diners can feast on the delights created by Italian Umberto Bombana.

The guide featured 14 two-star restaurants in Hong Kong and a further two in nearby Macau.

There were three new two-star restaurants - Spanish chef Jonay Armas's 'The Principal' and local Cantonese offerings 'Yan Toh Heen' and 'Duddell's'.

The Michelin Guide Hong Kong & Macau 2015 features more than 50 types of cuisine, including 21 different styles of Chinese cooking.

Judges noted that semi-autonomous Hong Kong "is still the only city where one can have lunch or dinner in a starred restaurant for less than 10 euros", citing traditional Cantonese favourites 'Yat Lok' and 'Kam's Roast'.

"The city's creativity, curiosity and culture openness constantly enriches one of the most dynamic gourmet dining scenes anywhere," Mr Ellis said.

"Hong Kong has become an undisputed leader in the international culinary landscape," he added.

AFP