Not Only the Michelin Guide: World’s Restaurant Awards That Hiring Managers at Japanese Restaurants Should Know

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The Michelin Guide is the world’s most well-known system that evaluates restaurants, but there are other awards and rankings that attract attention from gourmets around the globe. This article introduces several global restaurant awards, which hiring managers at Japanese restaurants should know about.

*If you are interested in Japanese restaurants and the Michelin Guide, please read the following articles at the Washoku Agent website.

Is it Possible to Hire Michelin Chefs in Japan?

Value of the Michelin Star for Japanese Restaurants

What Japanese Cuisine Categories Are There in the Michelin Guide as of September 2022?

1. The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

First, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants is one of the major awards in the industry, aside from the Michelin Guide. This award was founded in 2002 by Restaurant, a British magazine targeting restaurant professionals. More than 1,000 judges, selected from chefs, critics, and influencers, vote for 10 places among where they dined in the last 18 months.

Unlike the Michelin Guide, in which anonymous inspectors evaluate restaurants within certain areas, such as Tokyo, London, and Paris, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants targets restaurants around the world. Since each judge appraises the places they actually ate in, the award has shed light on restaurants in the countries and regions that had not been included in the Michelin. This is why the global restaurant industry pays close attention to this award.

In the latest ranking issued in June 2023, Den in Tokyo, known for its innovative kaiseki cuisine, is ranked 21st. The first place went to Central, a Peruvian cuisine restaurant in Lima.

2. La Liste

La Liste was started in 2015 by the employees of Atout France, a tourism development agency in France. This futuristic guide collects data from more than 1,000 restaurant guidebooks and publications, ratings, and reviews around the world and rates restaurants with its unique algorithm. It is said that the data collected include the Michelin Guide, Gault & Millau, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, and Tabelog in Japan.

Each restaurant is assessed out of 100 points and the guide lists the top 1,000 places. The latest ranking includes Matsukawa, a kaiseki cuisine restaurant in Tokyo (5th rank with 97.50 points), Yanagiya, a local cuisine restaurant in Gifu (4th with 98.00 points), and Sushi Saito, a sushi restaurant in Tokyo (2nd with 99.00 points). Ranked first are Frantzén in Stockholm, Guy Savoy in Paris, and Le Bernardin in New York, scoring 99.50 points.

3. Gault & Millau

Gault & Millau is a restaurant guide established in 1972 in Paris by two food journalists, Henri Gault and Christian Millau. Currently, this guide rates restaurants in 15 countries with standardized scoring rubrics. They evaluate each restaurant “from a reservation phone call to departure” out of 20 points in increments of 0.5 points. The scores are then converted to the number of toque (“a chef’s hat” in French) (1 – 5 toques).

They are similar to the Michelin Guide in that anonymous investigators visit restaurants, but Gault & Millau tend to focus on chefs and service staff. Having drawn attention to young rising chefs, like Alain Senderens, Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Marc Veyrat, Pierre Gagnaire, and Michel Rostang, this guide has been highly acclaimed by gourmets around the world.

In March 2023, the Gault & Millau Guide Japan was published. 5 toques were awarded to Ryugin, Matsukawa, and Kanda, all of which are Japanese restaurants located in Tokyo.

4. Other Restaurant Awards

We have introduced three globally acclaimed restaurant awards, but there are many other awards and guides in different countries and regions.

For example, the Black Pearl has been rising as a new guidepost for gourmets in China. This restaurant ranking guide has been issued since 2018 by Meituan Dianping that runs a restaurant review website. It is worth noting that only about 300 places are selected out of more than 7 million restaurants, mainly those in China that the company is associated with.

In addition, Australia has its own credible guide, Australian Good Food Guide, that has a history of more than four decades.

Then, how about the country where Japanese cuisine originates? In Japan, the Michelin Guide is most popular in general, but Tabelog is another rating website that developed in this nation. The website has more than 88 million monthly users and issues the Tabelog Award annually to recognize 30 Gold restaurants, 100 Silver restaurants, and 340 Bronze restaurants selected from 900,000 places.

Furthermore, Japan has awards that specialize in a specific dish. TRY (Tokyo Ramen of the Year) is one of such popular awards. With the concept that “We decide the best ramen restaurant in Tokyo,” it started in 2000 and is known for its tremendous influence on the restaurants’ publicity.

In other countries, there are more restaurant awards that we have not mentioned here. Award history of the restaurant can be one way to evaluate the chef’s skill, but there are many other elements to take into account in a hiring process. If you need help with hiring and evaluating a Japanese chef, contact Washoku Agent!

5. What If I Have a Problem in Hiring?

“I do not know what my restaurant should feature to attract Japanese chefs.”

“I have an idea of the chefs I am looking for, but I do not know how to find them.”

“We tried to recruit on our own before without success, so we want to find a truly skillful chef this time.”

“Since no staff member speak Japanese, we want to entrust the whole task of hiring Japanese chefs to someone else.”

If you have a problem in recruiting Japanese chefs, feel free to contact us Washoku Agent!

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