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Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle (pictured), Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle and Candlenut Kitchen were among 22 restaurants to receive one star each in an event that saw surprise winners as well as expected ones.

Michelin awards 37 stars to 29 Singapore eateries

Joel Robuchon only restaurant to bag three stars; Waku Ghin's one star draws fire from critics
Jul 22, 2016 5:50 AM



THE Michelin Guide welcomed its first hawkers and Peranakan restaurant in its highly anticipated Singapore debut that saw 29 eateries winning 37 coveted stars in a glittery reception on July 21.

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle and Candlenut Kitchen were among 22 restaurants to receive one star each in an event that saw surprise winners as well as expected ones. Joel Robuchon - the chef with the most Michelin stars in the world, took the night's only three star award for his eponymous restaurant in Resorts World Singapore. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon took home two stars. So too did established names Les Amis, Odette and Restaurant Andre.

"It was very unexpected for me," said Tai Hwa's owner Tang Chay Seng. "Singapore has a lot of good food, so I was lucky. It's about quality though - that's most important. And I won't be opening another outlet because manpower is hard to get now."

International Director of Michelin Guides, Michael Ellis, said: "I must emphasise that we look at all types of food, and do not favour one style over another when making our selections. If there's one factor that counts anywhere in the world, it's the quality of the food."

He continued: "For the first year in Singapore, the percentage of restaurants and food establishments featured is higher than that of when we did our first edition in Hong Kong. We have a total of 37 stars awarded out of a selection of 29 food establishments." The total number of restaurants visited in Singapore was not available. "In France, it is on average 13 per cent (of restaurants visited) and even in Hong Kong's first edition, which is closer to Singapore, there were only about 15 per cent of stars awarded back in 2009. This is a reflection of Singapore's food scene as the number of stars awarded to selection inspected is far higher than that of other guides around the world."

French celebrity chef Joel Robuchon said: "I'm very happy to achieve these Michelin stars. For us it's very important to be in Singapore because it's one of the top cities worldwide with regards to gastronomy and I believe Singapore needs a guide like Michelin. I'm very happy that it's here now. Achieving three stars in Singapore also makes us so proud."

"When you get such a result, it's more of a responsibility; sometimes we accept little details that aren't perfect but we won't be able to do that anymore. We have to fight and work hard every day to keep it at the same level. The toughest work is that which will come now, in fact," added the 71-year-old.

In contrast, Chef Andre Chiang of Restaurant Andre - which won two stars - was in a lighter mood. He said: "We won't change what we do. I'm feeling very relaxed actually. My kitchen boys are waiting for me at the restaurant, that's how I'll be celebrating, I'm going to go back for supper."

Chef Sebastien Lepinoy, another two-star winner, said: "The Michelin Guide is a reliable barometer which provides assurance to our guests that the food we serve at Les Amis is consistent and made from quality ingredients. Therefore it is an honour to be awarded two Michelin stars. Of course, I will fight to get three stars next year. I think I have all the ingredients for it: a nice restaurant, great kitchen, and the support from the Les Amis owner."

One of the biggest winners of the night was not a restaurant, but integrated resort Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), one of the partners of the Michelin Guide. Besides Joel Robuchon and L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Osia and Forest also earned a star each.

But the major disappointment of the night was Waku Ghin. Located in Singapore's other integrated resort, Marina Bay Sands, it is consistently rated among the top restaurants in Singapore, but earned only one Michelin star. Even as it was announced, critics immediately took to social media in support of chef-owner Tetsuya Wakuda.

To this, Mr Ellis said: "Our inspectors reflect what they find, and it is what it is. That's what we found, that doesn't mean Tetsuya or Waku Ghin can't get more stars going forward, but we can only base it on what our inspectors found this year - that reflects the reality of what they had."