Michelin Guide Gets the Greenlight to Enter Tel Aviv
Last Wednesday, the Tourism Ministry in Israel announced that they were moving forward with a years-long plan about bringing the Michelin Guide to the country’s restaurant scene.
Likud’s Haim Katz became the Tourism Minister over a month ago and the ministry said that he recently gave the green light for introducing the prestigious culinary guide, thanks to the years of his predecessors’ efforts.
Katz issued a statement in which he said that currently, the Michelin inspectors are only interested in the restaurant scene in Tel Aviv, which means they will be collaborating with the municipality of Tel Aviv for now.
Meanwhile, he said that the Tourism Ministry would work on expanding it to other cities down the road. The total cost of the deal is about 1.5 million euros, or $1.6 million.
The cost will be split between the Tel Aviv municipality and the Tourism Ministry.
Yesh Atid’s Yoel Razvozov had been the former Tourism Minister and during his term, he had made a great deal of effort in advancement of the guide.
Shortly before he left office late last year, Razvozov said that they were close to signing a deal with Michelin and added that he would explain the economic reasons for signing the deal to his successor.
Michelin did not immediately comment on its possible entry into Israel. The country has been considered a relatively small market, due to which the Michelin Guide has not operated in the country.
However, the Michelin Guide has been working on expanding its presence in the Middle East and the past year saw it launch in Dubai, Istanbul and Abu Dhabi.
Michelin stars are regarded as the highest possible global honor that can be granted to a restaurant and can give tourism a boost amongst culinary-minded travelers.
The Tourism Ministry in Israel has been exploring the possibility of bringing the Michelin Guide to Israel for at least half a decade.
In 2017, it even commissioned a study from Michelin on the gastronomy potential and standing under Likud’s Yariv Levin, who is currently the justice minister.
However, the findings of the study were never made public by the ministry, but reports indicated that Michelin inspectors had not found any restaurants that they deemed worth rating.
Global figures as well as local restaurateurs have been trying for Michelin to attract heavyweight rankings.
Ron Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, had written a letter in 2016 in which he had criticized the company for omitting Israel.
The Michelin Guide had been launched in 1900 by the tire company and now operates in 40 countries. Restaurants that are deemed worthy of visiting are awarded one, two or three stars by the company.
A Michelin star has been awarded to a few Israeli chefs who have their restaurants in other countries, including Gal Ben Moshe in Berlin for Prism, Assaf Granit in Paris for Shabour and Moshik Roth for a number of locations in Amsterdam.