When Joël Robuchon shut down both his Singapore outposts last year—including the three Michelin star Joël Robuchon Restaurant—the culinary world was shaken. Citing high costs of rent, wages and imports, there was lots of hand-wringing to be found amidst Singapore’s foodies. Was this the death of fine dining as we knew it? Would we all be subject to the ensnares of fast-casual chains, overrun by salad bars and haute burger joints?
The doomsday prophets can settle down. As of last night, Singapore is now home to, not one, but two new three Michelin star restaurants.
Les Amis and Odette both gained an extra star at last night’s Michelin Guide gala dinner, which was held to celebrate the launch of this year’s Michelin Guide Singapore.
Other restaurants that moved up the food chain include Saint Pierre and the Nordic-Japanese Zen, each earning an extra star each to boost them into the two-star category.
Overall, 44 restaurants here received stars, with seven new entrants and two restaurants bumped up from the Plate Michelin category in last year’s guide.
Crystal Jade Golden Palace and Whitegrass both lost their one-Michelin star rating, dropping them off the list.
For some, the aegis of a Michelin star comes as a blessing—but others, the title can be a curse.
While chefs typically report an uptick in crowds and earnings in the crazed months following the achievement of a star, not everyone wants to be included in the coveted red book.
French chef Sebastien Bras managed to return his three stars last year, citing a refusal to take on the additional pressure that it would put on himself and his staff, while others report massive rent hikes and lofty expectations.
And simply earning ones’ Michelin star isn’t the end of the road. Maintaining it is another story; It is well-documented that French Chef Bernard Loiseau shot himself in 2003 after rumours that his restaurant might lose its 3-star status. The case serves as an ominous warning of the pressures and expectations that the Michelin-branded spotlight brings to restaurants.
But some chefs think the pressure is par for the course. Just ask Gordon Ramsay: In 2013, one of his restaurants became the first-ever in Michelin history to lose both of its stars at once (he reportedly shed some tears afterwards). Despite that, he thinks that returning ones’ stars is ‘bullsh-t’.
The Michelin guide itself has not been without criticism. Earlier this year, celebrated French chef Marc Veyrat railed against the guide after his three-starred restaurant got demoted.
“It’s like being at Cannes and being awarded the Palme d’Or and then a year later they call you to tell you they’re taking it back,” he said in an interview with RTL.
Still, the deckhands behind Odette and Les Amis are no strangers to the spotlight: Odette was named the 18th best restaurant in the world at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards barely three months ago, and both restaurants have been steadily ascending the Michelin ranks for years.
Whether that shiny new trifecta of stars bestowed on Odette and Les Amis will prove to be a boon or bane remains to be seen. There’s one thing we do know, however—and that’s if you’re hankering for a taste of either restaurant, you’d best book them now.