Michelin Guide

Michelin Guide hits Toronto

Michelin Guide hits Toronto After year and months of waiting and preparing for this event, Michelin Guide finally arrives in Toronto. And Toronto is just the start for Canada. Later on this year Michelin stars will be give out to more restaurants, this time in Vancouver. This year 13 restaurants in Toronto got lucky. 12 got 1 star each, and only 1 got 2 stars. Also 17 restaurants were noted in the Michelin Guide with Bid Gourmand destination.  What is Michelin Guide? In short, ”The Michelin Guides” are the travel guides for foodies released by the French tyre manufacturer Michelin since 1900. It is worth noting that initially they were created to boost the tyre sales by encouraging people to take longer trips and travel around the country. Traditionally only the finest and most noteworthy restaurants had been listed in the Michelin Guide. Each year their position is reviewed by anonymous critics. And each year new restaurants have a chance to be awarded with 1 to a max of 3 Michelin Stars by the guide.  What do Michelin Stars mean? Historically, the exact position of a restaurant in the Michelin rating means how far does Michelin recommend a person to travel to dine in this particular restaurant, i.e. if it’s worth the wearing off of tyres or not. A restaurant with one Michelin star is considered to be “very good restaurant in its category” and one with two stars is considered to be “excellent cooking, that’s worth a detour” because of its great food. The highest honour, however, is three stars, which is only given to establishments that provide “exceptional cuisine” that is “worth a special journey”. What about Bib Gourmand? There’s also another, lesser known award category in the Michelin Guide – Bid Gourmand. The Bib Gourmand award has been used to identify “good quality, good value restaurants” since 1997. Of course, the understanding of the value for money price point always varies country by country, depending on the cost of living. However, the quality of the food must always be taken into account as well alongside the cost. Another criteria for restaurants to be considered for a Bib Gourmand award is that have to have a more straightforward culinary style that is recognisable and approachable. Customer experience at a Bib restaurant should also be the one that leaves them feeling satisfied because they paid such a low sum for such excellent food. And there’s more… “The MICHELIN Green Star is an annual award which highlights restaurants at the forefront of the industry when it comes to their sustainable practices”. Michelin Guide Toronto, Canada Finally, let’s talk about the Canadian restaurants that had been awarded with stars and other Michelin awards in 2022. The only restaurant with 2 Michelin Stars Sushi Masaki Saito was the only 1 restaurant in Toronto, Canada, awarded with 2 Michelin Stars in 2022. In fact, no other restaurant in Toronto had received more stars this year. 1 Michelin Star restaurants in Toronto Alo A truly exceptional restaurant by the fellow George Brown College graduate, Chef Patrick Kriss. A restaurant with and impeccable and always consistent customer service, that I’m surprised didn’t receive more stars.  By the way, we even wrote a review on Alo a few years ago. If you’re curious, give it a read. Alobar Yorkville Another creation of Chef Patrick Kriss. More casual and more approachable, yet just as perfect in terms of food and customer service standards. Quetzal Modern, yet authentic Mexican restaurant with a wood-fired hot station. If you decide to visit Quetzal, we definitely recommend to have a sit at the bar area for the best wood fire views and most unique experience.  All the rest of the restaurants we personally haven’t been to, so below is the rest of the Toronto Michelin Guide list (1 Michelin Star restaurants) in no order of personal preference Edulis An absolute classic of Canadian French cuisine. Frilu Canadian farm to table experience.  Shoushin Traditional Sushi bar. Osteria Giulia Modern Italian. ABURI Hana Modern Japanese Kyō-Kaiseki. ENIGMA Yorkville Modern European cuisine. Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto Traditional, authentic Kaiseki.  Don Alfonso 1890 What about Bib Gourmand restaurants? There were 17 restaurants in total, that had been awarded Bib Gourmand distinction in Toronto, Canada in 2022. Find the whole list HERE. Our take: The whole concept of professional Chefs embracing and building all their careers on the desire to be recognized by a tyre manufacturer company had always raised a lot of questions for us. In fact, a general idea of all these non food related companies creating food awards with debatable criteria and voting systems, had never settled well with many people. Most disturbing is the fact, that so many Chefs get obsessed and literally mentally ill with such awards chase, to the point of committing subside when they suddenly lose a star.  Nevertheless, these are the industry standards nowadays, although slowly changing. And all those restaurants that do make it to the award lists, do indeed deserve it and are worth to be celebrated. Want to learn how to cook like a Michelin Star Chef? Join my Online Culinary Academy TODAY, get your Chef’s training at your own time and speed, and start cooking note-worthy dishes Once enrolled, you’ll get a LIFETIME ACCESS to the academy, incl. all the new upcoming cooking lectures and modules. ENROLL Other blog posts you might like How to use cheesecloth in cooking – 6 ways (at least) Read HERE>> MrBeast Burger vs Kevin Hart House burger Read HERE>> All dumplings of the world origin Read HERE>>

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Alo restaurant review

Alo restaurant review

It is 7 p.m., New Year’s Eve, I am sitting on a soft round sofa in a dimly lit Alo’s small dining room, being entertained by the meticulously orchestrated play of the open kitchen crew, who are preparing another course for me. I am enjoying a glass of Gamay red meanwhile. In a few seconds, Chef Patrick Kriss comes on duty and stands by the wall a few tables away from me, overviewing back and front of the house flawless dance. He looks extremely focused without a hint of weakness, as a general on a battle field. Alo it seems, is his battle field, and there is no opportunity for mistake, no time for fun, only precise tactical moves in their spotless execution. To no one’s surprise, this French restaurant was on my go-to list for a few months already. Alo is the recurrently “Top restaurant in Canada”, to be precise 2 years in a row, 2017 and 2018. It is clearly aiming at a Michelin star. However, no stars came along just yet. RESERVATION You have to be patient and very quick at the same time, when reserving a table at Alo. It seems like everyone wants to be there and once the reservation process is opened for the next 2 months, all the tables go as hot pastries, being completely booked-out in under an hour. For those people, like me, not a phone type, it is a good plus that the booking can be done online. However, before pre-paying in full for the pricy set-menu dinner, I still had to call the restaurant to confirm a possibility of accommodation for dietary restrictions (more on that, later in the review). Alo also calls a few days before the set date to reconfirm the booking and the food preferences. Overall, smooth and simple process. Thumbs up for that part. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Image”][/siteorigin_widget] ACCOMMODATION FOR DIETARY RESTRICTIONS On the restaurant reservation web-page, at one of the two booking options it is clearly stated that NO accommodations are provided for any dietary restrictions. That is a bit confusing, as nothing is stated at the other option… And that is actually the reason, why I did not book a table there months earlier, being under the impression, that the restaurant is completely accommodations-unfriendly. The dietary restriction that I am always checking for is the most difficult and hated in the industry as I know it. It is getting better these days, but most of the Chefs still vigorously detest the vegan diet, simply as it seems, because they had not been trained to make complete plant-based dishes, and it appears to them virtually impossible to offer the same value (both nutrition and pallet complexity wise) dishes for vegans. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Chef Kriss had a vegan-friendly tasting menu option up in his sleeve. Is it as fully value for money experience for vegans, as the standard tasting menu? Maybe not (keep on reading for more on that), but the fact that a classically French Alo actually does not turn away vegans, is a huge plus for me. I did not ask about any other accommodations. However, I suppose, if Alo can offer a menu for a plant-based diet, it can accommodate any other diet… However, when I think about it now… I am curious about the raw-vegan … that could be a challenge 🙂 [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Image”][/siteorigin_widget] SERVICE & HOSPITALITY Service at Alo is on a completely other level from all the other Torontonian restaurants. No doubt, that is a major contribution to Alo being recognized as the “Top restaurant in Canada”. For a 40 sittings restaurant, they seem to have at least 10-15 staff members on the floor at the same time. That is extraordinary for the industry in general, and for Michelin star restaurants as well. I am not sure, how it works financially, but it definitely works operation wise for Chef Kriss. The floor staff is perfectly trained, there is some kind of sign language in place as well, to silently show a colleague if one of the guests needs attention. The attention to details on the floor is actually quite admiring, there seems to be a special person for everything, even to escort you to a washroom… Your cotton napkin will be replaced and folded, every time you stand up from your sit… literally, every time… The table is scanned for the smallest stains after every single course change, which are 10! I had even tested this, by leaving a tiny little spot from the sauce on the same color table, almost invisible even to myself. Surprisingly, our brilliant waiter had spotted it right away and came around to clean it up immediately. Let’s just say, Alo is not one of those places, where your water glass will ever stay even half empty, it will be continuously refilled. As for the hospitality, as defined by Daniel Meyer in his biblical ‘Setting the Table’, I am not so sure. Alo is absolutely technical in the execution of everything they do, from the service to the dishes themselves. However, I cannot say that it feels just as welcoming, as a truly hospitable restaurant does. It feels more like a just-bought, still fresh and unworn pair of shoes, rather than your beloved ones that are so comfy and ready to be worn over and over again. I’d say, it needs just a bit more of human touch to it. At the moment, Alo is more robotic than human. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Image”][/siteorigin_widget] AMBIANCE As the travel to another country starts from the airport, restaurant experience starts from the building entrance. Alo is located in a heritage building near Chinatown. It is easy to access, and also easy to pass by, as there is no apparent signboard on a door. That might be quite annoying when you are desperately trying to find the entrance to escape from the rain outside, but not to be too picky about it… Once you find

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