SINGAPORE – After a hiatus last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Michelin Guide Singapore is back this year and will dish out its coveted stars at a virtual event on Sept 1.

A new Young Chef Award will also be given out to a chef under 36 years old “with exceptional talent and great potential” from a Michelin-starred restaurant, said the guide’s press release.

The Bib Gourmand list is returning as well and will be released on Aug 12. It highlights eateries that offer “good quality, good value cooking”.

Following the Sept 1 virtual ceremony at 3pm, the guide’s full selection will be listed on its website and mobile app. No physical copy of its iconic red book will be released.

To mark the guide’s fifth edition, local designer Eric Foenander created a special artwork that draws inspiration from Singapore’s iconic landmarks and gastronomy. It will be displayed online and during the virtual event.

The last physical event for the guide’s release was held in 2019 at Capella Singapore, where 44 eateries bagged Michelin stars, and French fine-dining restaurants Odette and Les Amis received the maximum of three Michelin stars each.

Last year’s ceremony was cancelled due to the long period of closure of restaurants during the two-month circuit breaker.

The Michelin Guide Singapore launched in 2016 and has been an annual affair with a gala dinner and awards ceremony.

All establishments – for both the Bib Gourmand and Michelin-starred restaurants – are chosen according to the same five criteria used by anonymous Michelin inspectors around the world.

They are quality of the ingredients used; mastery of cooking techniques; harmony of the flavours; expression of the chef’s personality in the cuisine; and consistency, both over time and across the entire menu.

Location, decor, service, and available facilities are not part of the selection criteria.

Mr Gwendal Poullennec. Image: Michelin Guides

Mr Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, said: “Despite the challenges posed by 2020, it has been impressive to observe how the chefs and their teams were able to reinvent and adapt to the unfolding situation.”

On top of managing their restaurants, they also came together to look out for those most in need in their communities – from feeding migrant workers and front-line workers, to setting up welfare funds for displaced food and beverage staff.

“In the 2021 edition, we pay tribute to the perseverance and dedication of these professionals, who continue to bring us together over the finest gastronomy and experiences,” said Mr Poullennec.

Text: Eunice Quek/The Straits Times