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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

more stars than ever

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Hamburg (dpa) – Although the coronavirus pandemic has given many restaurateurs a hard time, forced breaks have led the state’s best chefs to overperform.

With new recipes and arrangements, chefs in Germany have cooked more Michelin stars than ever before, as the director of the “Michelin Guide” for Germany and Switzerland, Ralf Flinkenflügel, told the German Press Agency. “You used the time to question yourself and you did much better.” And so there are exactly 327 restaurants with stars in the new “Michelin Guide”. The gourmet guide for 2022 was presented on Wednesday in Hamburg.

flexibility and courage

“It’s a record year. That surprised us a lot.” Because the year was also an “incredibly difficult year” for the industry due to the pandemic. “It was really amazing how well the restorers handled everything.” The chefs have shown a lot of flexibility, courage and resilience.

During their visits to Rhineland-Palatinate, the Michelin inspectors were particularly impressed by the “world-class” food prepared by chef Thomas Schanz. The “schanz.restaurant” in the wine-growing town of Piesport has thus obtained a third star and is now one of the best German restaurants. Schanz himself was very surprised by Wednesday’s culinary honor in Hamburg. It already has two stars. “It’s amazing, I have to say. Getting three stars now is a big dream coming true here. That’s really big,” he said after the award ceremony. There are now nine three-star restaurants in Germany.

46 two-star restaurants

In addition, five restaurants from Bavaria and one from Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg and Saarland have been included in the ranks of the now 46 two-star restaurants thanks to the culinary skills of their chefs. The brief speeches of thanks from the star chefs revolved on several occasions around the long-awaited dream of a lifetime that is now being fulfilled with the Michelin stars. However, the focus was always on the chefs’ colleagues, as Edip Sigl of “Es:senz” in Grassau, Upper Bavaria said. “It’s not an individual achievement, it’s an absolute team effort. This is really high-performance sport that you access here.” Sigl was able to bring home a second star for himself and his team.

At the same time, 272 restaurants each have one star; 31 restaurants have been added in this category. There were also eleven green stars for actions that respect the environment and save resources in the kitchen. 18 restaurants of good food at moderate prices have been able to win the Bib Gourmand award.

The fact that working with the stars was quite a challenge, especially during the Corona period, was also reflected in many acceptance speeches. So said chef Tohru Nakamura of Munich’s “Tohru in der Schreiberei”, who received a second star: “It was a hot trip, really going through ups and downs for 24 months. It’s great.” Chef Benjamin Chmura of “Tantris” in Munich, which now also has two Michelin stars, also found clear words. “It’s been a big deal in the last couple of months. There was a lot of tears and sweat, but it was worth it.”

By the way, most of the star restaurants can still be found in the big cities and in the strongholds known as culinary strongholds. Corona did not change anything about it either. “I don’t see any rural exodus there.”

Fine dining and trendy casual

Vegetarian dishes and an informal atmosphere – the so-called casual fine dining – continue to be clearly recognizable as trends in good restaurants. “This elitist behavior from 20 or 30 years ago just doesn’t happen anymore.” In addition, it is now “almost mandatory” in many star restaurants that a vegetarian menu is also offered at the same time. Among the award-winning star cuisines are several purely vegetarian restaurants.

Women cooks continue to increase, albeit slowly. There are now 16 women among the top 327 chefs, 2 more than last year. “There is a slight upward trend year over year,” said Flinkenflügel. But one cannot speak of an explosion in this area. “It would be nice to have more.” The main reason for the difference between the sexes is that far fewer women learn this profession.

To rate restaurants, international Michelin inspectors anonymously enter restaurants. By the way, the environment does not play any role in the rating. According to the information, the star is purely a cooking award. The focus is on the food. That should match up perfectly in terms of flavor. “Harmony is a good slogan. We also pay attention to the quality of the products, the originality, the craftsmanship, and the consistency of the dishes,” said Flinkenflügel. That is why the testers visit the restaurants several times. “To determine if the level is maintained over a period of weather and it’s good all over the map.

The first Michelin stars in Germany were awarded in 1966. In an international comparison, the best German cuisine certainly doesn’t have to hide, says Flinkenflügel. “Behind France, Germany is already playing a very, very decisive role.”

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