The Miele Guide reveals the first ever ranked list of Asia’s Top 20 restaurants
As part of the launch of the inaugural edition of The Miele Guide, the much anticipated first-ever ranked list of Asia’s Top 20 Restaurants was announced at The Miele Guide Dinner on 31 October 2008. The exclusive red carpet event, held at the Grand Hyatt Singapore, was attended by approximately 350 guests, comprising a veritable Who’s Who of Asia’s F&B scene. At this extraordinary gathering of Asia’s most celebrated chefs and restaurateurs plus regional and international food critics and journalists, the Top 20 Restaurants and the personalities behind them received The Miele Guide awards and most importantly, the recognition that they so richly deserve.
This year, Hong Kong has emerged as the best city in Asia to dine in. Eight restaurants in The Miele Guide’s Top 20 are in Hong Kong. It is also worth noting that one chef-restaurateur has three restaurants in The Miele Guide’s Top 20. Joel Robuchon, once heralded as the world’s greatest chef, is undoubtedly helping to transform Asia’s culinary scene through his restaurants in Hong Kong, Macau and Tokyo.
Taking the top honours this year is Iggy’s, a four-year-old restaurant in Singapore that has consistently received rave reviews both locally and internationally since it opened. Iggy’s has also been consistently ranked among the world’s best restaurants by other media and surveys. Of note is Filipino chef-restaurateur Antonio Escalante. His restaurant, Antonio’s Fine Dining, is Asia’s 10th best restaurant this year and the only restaurant in the Philippines to break the Top 20.
To determine the Top 20, The Miele Guide conducted four rigorous rounds of selection and judging. The selection process started with the creation of an initial shortlist of “Asia’s best restaurants” by a panel of 84 of the most respected restaurant critics and food writers from over 16 countries in Asia. Then, over 10 weeks, over 15,000 registered voters, from over 40 countries, cast over 75,000 votes for the restaurants they believe are Asia’s best via an online survey, hosted at www.mieleguide.com. Each voter was allowed 10 votes, only 3 of which could be cast for restaurants in their own country (if they live in one of the 16 countries being evaluated in the 2008/2009 edition). In addition, a group of 1,500 foodies, F&B professionals and journalists were invited to form a special jury and cast votes for their picks, separately from the public. The results of these two votes were combined, with slightly more weight given to the public vote.
Over 2,000 restaurants received votes in these two rounds. From this, The Miele Guide selected the top 320 ranked restaurants for inclusion in the 2008/2009 edition. To further evaluate and confirm the rankings of Asia’s Top 20, incognito tasting at the top 25 ranked restaurants were conducted by The Miele Guide team, with help from contributors in selected countries.
This year, restaurants in 16 Asian countries were evaluated: Brunei, Cambodia, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
“We expect that this list will be controversial,” says Aun Koh, Director of Ate Media. “Like any list, we expect people to dispute the rankings and to criticise us. But the more people talk about our Top 20 list, the better. The overarching goal of The Miele Guide is to help the restaurant industry in Asia grow. The more people talk about and debate which restaurants and chefs they think are Asia’s best, the closer we are to achieving our objectives of helping our most talented chefs and restaurateurs gain more recognition, both within Asia and internationally. Obviously, we want The Miele Guide to become established as the most credible, independent and respected system through which restaurants are evaluated across Asia. But a large percentage of our results are based on polling, both through a jury and the public. If people are unhappy with the results this year, we urge them to vote in the following years.”
“We are proud to be part of this landmark move to recognise the Asian dining scene,” Mario Miranda, Managing Director of Miele Pte Ltd says. “Miele’s sponsorship of The Miele Guide reflects our dedication to helping to encourage and support the food and wine industry in this region. We are equally committed to promoting the enjoyment and understanding of good food among the people of this diverse region. We realise that the same customers who look for the very best in their kitchens also expect the very best when they dine out. Thus, it is natural for Miele to encourage a publication that seeks to recognise Asian chefs, restaurateurs and restaurants that are just as committed as we are to making their customers’ lives forever better.”
The Miele Guide is published by Ate Media Pte Ltd and sponsored by Miele, a German manufacturer of premium and innovative cooking appliances for the home. While a naming sponsor of the Guide, Miele did not exert any influence over the selection and judging process that determined which restaurants appear in The Miele Guide.
Further underlining its independence, neither the Guide nor its contributors accepted any advertising, sponsorship or free meals from any of the restaurants reviewed.
The slim, elegant and affordable Guide, which retails at US$15, will be for every traveller, foodie and business person looking to dine in Asia. The 2008/2009 edition is now available at major bookstores throughout Asia and Australia. It is also available via The Miele Guide’s website.