A number of Bangkok hotels finished the year as proud owners of stars from Michelin. Le Normandie at Mandarin Oriental, Nahm at Metropolitan Bangkok, Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin at Siam Kempinski, and Elements at Okura Prestige Bangkok all made the grade, but the majority of Michelin-starred establishments are still standalone restaurants. For hotels, competing against each other is already hard enough without having to fight against outsiders for our guests’ attention – but a Michelin star is certainly a great way to give a hotel a boost.

According to Michael Ellis, International Director of Michelin Guides, there are three major benefits to Michelin recognition. “Winning a Michelin star does several things for a hotel. Firstly, it helps attract talent. It is always a challenge to find really good talent and the restaurant will get many more CVs from chefs who want to work in a Michelin-starred restaurant. It will also be a competitive advantage and increase the ambition of the restaurant in the F&B world to continually improve. Thirdly, it will encourage suppliers – for meat, fish, and vegetables for instance – to increase their quality so that they can match the ambitions and standards of the restaurant. Overall it has a very positive effect on the hotel ecosystem.”

To be awarded a star or two (there are no establishments in Bangkok to date which can boast three) then you need to pay close attention to the following assessment criteria:

  1. Quality of the products
  2. Mastery of flavor and cooking techniques
  3. The personality of the chef in his cuisine
  4. Value for money
  5. Consistency between visits

The inspectors must maintain absolute anonymity – they certainly won’t agree to be interviewed – and they always pay for their own meals, or at least Michelin does. Reports are then filed and meetings held to determine which restaurants are to be awarded the coveted stars at the end of each year.

The Michelin guides currently cover 28 countries and select the best restaurants in each. In particular, there is an emphasis on showcasing the latest trends and the most talented young chefs. Of course, stars can be lost as well as won, ensuring the ongoing dynamism of the guides. There is a strong element of prestige attached to a Michelin star, and this creates significant value for any restaurant able to earn one. While a handful of dining establishments have rejected stars in the past (not wanting to deal with increased demand, or to compromise on style in order to meet the public perception of what a Michelin-starred restaurant should be), stars provide a reliable indicator to visitors that they will enjoy a unique dining experience.

Of course, even if your own F&B outlet missed out on a star this year, featuring as our Chef of the Month would run a close second. And to find out exactly what you’re up against, the full Michelin Guide for Bangkok 2018 can be found here: https://guide.michelin.com