I was asked a few months ago to be one of the “84 of Asia’s most influential and respected restaurant critics” to participate in the preliminary submissions and judging to the new Miele Guide. It’s basically the Michelin or Zagat Guide for Asia. I’d say it’s a welcome publication in this culinarily exciting yet confusing corner of the world.

As for my participation, anyone who knows me knows that I don’t go to many of the fine restaurants in Seoul. I don’t have the time, I don’t want to spend the money, and frankly, I’ve been disappointed with most of the pretension in upscale or trendy cuisine here. I don’t want to pay 30,000 won for something I could easily make at home. So I submitted some of my basic favorites–and only places I had been to. No Gorilla in the Kitchen. No The Gaon. Nothing with a lot of pretension unless it actually tasted good.

Now here’s where you come in. From May 15th to July 2008, they’re opening the site for voting. You can register at www.mieleguide.com.

I’ll just go ahead and repost the press release. (That’s what press releases are for.)


Hong Kong — Asia is to get its first truly independent restaurant guide. The Miele Guide will herald a new standard in the Asian culinary sphere and will set a benchmark for measuring the best restaurants in the region. The inaugural Miele Guide, the 2008/2009 edition, will be released at the end of October 2008.

The Miele Guide will rank Asia’s top 20 best restaurants annually. The guide will feature in-depth profiles of these top 20 restaurants plus a select list of the other top restaurants in the region, categorised by country, city and cuisine. All this information will be published in a slim, elegantly designed and affordable book that every traveller, foodie and business person looking to dine in Asia will want to own.

“We want to create a credible, transparent system through which to showcase establishments that deliver excellence and exceptional dining by Asian standards. We hope that The Miele Guide will not only accurately reflect the opinions of Asia’s most respected restaurant writers, but more importantly, capture public opinion. It is vital that The Miele Guide reflects the tastes of the dining public in Asia,” says Aun Koh, Director of Ate Media Pte Ltd, which is publishing the guide.

The information in the guide will be compiled through several rounds of judging. The first round gathers input from 84 of Asia’s most influential and respected restaurant critics. The second and third rounds will be conducted simultaneously via online polls that will run from May 15 to the end of July 2008 at the website www.mieleguide.com. The second round is open to everyone who registers at the website. In addition, a selected jury of respected foodies and food and wine professionals across Asia will be invited to place their votes for the third round of judging.

Voters will be asked to cast their votes for a specific number of restaurants from their own countries and a larger number of restaurants from outside their own countries. If a voter wants to nominate a restaurant that does not appear on the shortlist, he or she may do so. The final evaluation will be made by The Miele Guide’s in-house editorial team and contributing editors who will visit all of the top-ranked restaurants anonymously in order to verify the voting results.

Voters also have the chance to win attractive prizes. An all-expenses paid meal at the top ranked restaurant in Singapore, Hong Kong or Tokyo, plus a stay in one of Asia’s most luxurious hotels (upon registration, voters will be asked to choose the city they want to be eligible for) are all up for grabs. The results of the voting will be announced in October 2008 when The Miele Guide is launched.

As an independent guide, The Miele Guide will not accept any advertising or sponsorship, nor any free meals, from any of the restaurants reviewed.

The first edition of The Miele Guide will evaluate restaurants in 16 Asian countries””Brunei, Cambodia, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

In conjunction with the launch of The Miele Guide, culinary scholarships will be awarded to deserving young talents from Asia. The Miele Guide will be funding the scholarships through the donation of part of its revenue from the worldwide sales of the Guide. These culinary scholarships are created to promote and encourage formal culinary education, and to further the goal of excellence and continuous achievement in the culinary field in Asia. These scholarships will provide a chance of a lifetime to young and potential talents in the culinary field, and will be providing them the opportunity to attend courses at a renowned culinary educational institution.

The Miele Guide is published by Ate Media and sponsored by Miele, a German manufacturer of premium and innovative cooking appliances for the home. While a naming sponsor of this guide, Miele will not exert any influence over the selection and judging process that determines which restaurants appear in The Miele Guide.

“Miele is an ardent supporter of fine-dining. At Miele, we apply the philosophy of Immer Besser or Forever Better in every aspect of our work, including the continuous improvement of our products. Hence, we appreciate the work of chefs and restaurateurs who are likewise always continually striving to forever better themselves and improve upon what they are doing. We believe that The Miele Guide will become a benchmark honoring those restaurants that best exemplify this spirit and passion,” says Mario Miranda, Managing Director of Miele Pte Ltd.

Tan Su-Lyn, Director of Ate Media and one of Asia’s most established food writers adds, “Asia does not currently have a credible, independent and respected system through which restaurants are evaluated across the region and the very best given the credence due to them. Europe and America both have their own frameworks and systems. It is our hope that The Miele Guide can establish a framework here in Asia that reflects the opinions of Asians.”

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