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Belgium got a whole bunch of Michelin stars, but there is a catch

The new list of Michelin starred restaurants in Belgium was published on Monday. Our country has sixteen new restaurants with one star and one with two stars. But how objective is the Michelin Guide still?

The New Michelin Guide for Belgium and Luxembourg was presented at a ceremony in Bergen on Monday.

16 restaurants received a first Star. Only one case gets its second star (Bozar in Brussels). No new third star, like last year. All three – star restaurants in our country – “Boury” in Roeselare, “Hof van Cleve” in Kruishoutem and “Zilte” in Antwerp-were allowed to keep all their stars.

Belgium and Luxembourg have a total of 149 starred restaurants.
In addition, there are the green stars, an award for ‘responsible and Sustainable Gastronomy’. Last year, only one green star was awarded; this year the counter is at fifteen units.

The ”Bib Gourmand” prizes are awarded to restaurants that offer “a very good value for money”, in the form of a menu of about 45 euros. Those winners were also announced on Monday: there are 22 new names. Belgium and Luxembourg now have 147 addresses in that category.

The essence: the (new) business model behind the famous guide.

Another novelty in 2023: it is the first guide in digital form (for Belgium). That means the famous guide will no longer be sold in book form, with its signature red cover. The reviews of the restaurants can be consulted free of charge on the Michelin website or through the application.

The catch: you can also book a restaurant visit via Michelin’s tools, and the group receives a commission on it, the website reports the richest Belgians.

This would have changed the purpose of the Michelin Guide. It used to be an objective book, listing the reviews so that the reader could make an informed choice. Of course, they had to buy the book, but the guide was also sold to find out which restaurants were rated.

Now “Michelin will make money promoting restaurants,” the site said. The guide would therefore no longer have any interest in giving negative reviews – because otherwise no one would still place a booking through Michelin, which would therefore miss commissions. “Objective criticisms will thus become increasingly rare. Michelin is going to support its own market with digital marketing,” it reads.

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