Author: Rūta Grikmane
Obtaining a Michelin star for one of the restaurants in Latvia would contribute to an increase in the number of tourists both in our country and in the Baltic region, because in Estonia currently are two restaurants with this rating, so tourists would be happy to visit two countries in one trip. This is the conclusion that the experts came to during the discussion "The future of culinary arts in the Baltics. Michelin as a guarantor of industry development " organized by the food and delicacy expert "Reaton", which took place on Wednesday, February 15, as part of the Reaton Professional Days.
Jānis Jenzis, president of the Latvian Restaurant Association, said that gastronomic tourism is becoming more and more popular in the world when people are looking for new tastes and opportunities. Whereas, getting a Michelin star means not only delicious local food but also high service. "The main focus of Michelin experts is food, its quality and creativity, however, we should not forget that a restaurant is not only food, but also service, the general atmosphere, light, sound, quality of drinks and, of course, in the center - hospitality," says J. Jenzis.
Hywel Griffith, the recipient of a Michelin star and chef of the Beach House Restaurant, agrees, receiving a star is nice, but maintaining the service at the specified level is very difficult: "Every guest who comes to us must be served as if they were a Michelin inspector because we don't know who the experts are who evaluate. They do this without the restaurant knowing, so we have to be perfect all the time and every minute the restaurant is open. It's a huge pressure, so not everyone can handle it." On the other hand, the owner and chef of "Max Cekot Kitchen", Maksims Cekots, who has worked outside of Latvia for 15 years, including in restaurants with Michelin stars, said that the most important thing is creativity and the ability to provide high-quality products.
The discussion was moderated by the vice-president of the Chefs Club and the chef of the "KEST" restaurant, Māris Jansons, who asked the president of the Estonian Chefs' Association, Taigo Lepik, whether the number of tourists to the neighboring country has increased after the evaluation of two restaurants with Michelin stars. In Estonia, the number of tourists has increased and there are always queues at these restaurants, although these places are also popular for residents. Also, T. Lepik said that he really hopes and waits for Latvia to receive Michelin stars, because the media around the world are informing about it. This means huge interest from people not only in the particular restaurant, but in the country as a whole, and in our case also in the region as a whole. "Latvia and Estonia are small countries that are not known in many parts of the world. On the other hand, when it is announced that a restaurant receives a Michelin star, it is possible that people look at a map, read about us and decide to come and have a look," says T. Lepik.
It is interesting that after obtaining the Michelin stars, the number of young people interested in cooking and hospitality professions has increased in Estonia, thus allowing the industry to develop.
This is also agreed by H. Griffith, whose restaurant, as he says, is "in the middle of nowhere by the sea". "When people come to see me, they spend a lot of money because they have to book hotels, think about transportation and other costs. This means that I must not let them down," adds H. Griffith.
At the end of the discussion organized by "Reaton", all experts agreed that it is important for Latvia to receive a Michelin star, because it will help to develop the entire tourism industry in the Baltics, thus not only specific restaurants will reap benefits, but also other business sectors, such as hotels, transport, etc.
The discussion was preceded by a press conference organized by food and delicacy expert "Reaton" and dedicated to it’s 30th anniversary. Vija Tirzmale, head of the company's brand development in the Baltic States, said: "In thirty years, the field of hospitality and restaurants has changed significantly. At that time, it was "Reaton" that introduced Latvian gourmets to sea scallops, shrimp, and calamari rings, without which the menus of cafes and restaurants are unimaginable today. But even now, both local and global trends are changing. Therefore, it is important to react to events in time, in order to keep pace with innovations and be able not only to react to news, but to shape the current affairs of the industry."
Whereas, on Thursday, February 16, at 14:00, in the exhibition hall "Ķīpsala", the food and delicacy expert "Reaton" is holding a discussion "Sustainability of the industry and the efficiency of kitchen work". The participants of this discussion will be the president of the Latvian "Bocuse d'Or" Academy and member of the board of the Chefs' Club Svetlana Riškova, "BURGERS 66" founder and chef Gints Aizupietis, head of the Latvian Corporate Social Responsibility Platform "CSR Latvia" Agnese Alksne - Bensone, Edijs Tanons, innovation director of SIA Datakom, as well as "MasterChef UK" winner and chef Simon Wood. The event will be hosted by Arvis Zēmanis.
The discussion and press conference took place in the exhibition hall “Ķīpsala", where on February 15 and 16 "Professional Days" are taking place, bringing together more than 70 different suppliers and manufacturers from all over Europe, America and Asia.
To publish this article please contact BalticTravelnews.eu editorial board