Chef Sues Michelin Guide for Including His Restaurant Against His Wishes
Seoul chef Eo Yun-gwon has shocked the restaurant world after announcing that he is suing Michelin Guide for including his restaurant in their 2019 edition, despite him asking them not to.
Most chefs would kill to have their restaurant included in the famous Michelin Guide, and in fact some waste years of their lives and big money in pursuit of a Michelin star and never get it, so Eo Yun-gwon’s announcement that he not only explicitly asked the authors of the guide to remove his restaurant from this year’s edition, but that he also sued them for not honoring his request, came as a huge shock. Eo described the Michelin Guide as cruel and unfair, and vowed to continue his crusade against the publication.
“Michelin guide is a cruel system. It’s the cruelest test in the world. It forces the chefs to work around a year waiting for a test [and] they don’t know when it’s coming,” Eo Yun-gwon told CNN. “It is humiliating to see my restaurant given a rating in that unwholesome book,” Eo continued.”
“Including my restaurant Eo in the corrupt book is a defamation against members of Eo and its fans. Like a ghost, they did not have a contact number and I was only able to get in touch through email. Although I clearly refused listing of my restaurant, they included it at their will this year as well,” the founder of Ristorante Eo added.
The famous South-Korean chef mainly takes offence with how the Micheling Guide rates restaurants, particularly its obscure criteria. He claims he asked the authors to reveal how Michelin reviewers rate the restaurants they visit, but the French publication is notoriously secretive about the process, and he got no response. So he asked that his restaurant be removed from the guide, but Michelin decided to include it anyway.
“There are thousands of restaurants in Seoul that are on the same level or better and more honest than those listed on the Michelin guide. It is a sad joke that a mere 170 of them are representing Seoul,” chef Eo Yun-gwon complained. “Numerous restaurants and the workers are wasting away their soul (money, time, and effort) to pursue the mirage that is Michelin star.”
Eo sued the Michelin Guide claiming that by including his restaurant in the 2019 edition they broke a South Korean law against public insult, but legal experts say that his case doesn’t really have a leg to stand on. In order to claim insult, the Michelin Guide would have had to have used profanity in its description of Ristorante Eo, or otherwise negatively affect its social standing, which wasn’t the case.
But even if Eo’s lawsuit proves unsuccessful, there are those who say that he already reached his goal by shinning a spotlight on the obscure rating system of the Michelin Guide.