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Jun 10, 2023 / 16:12

Chef Anh Tuyet: Happy and proud when Hanoi has Michelin starred eateries

Chef Anh Tuyet, who is dubbed "Head of State Chef" and "The Living Culinary Book" for her dedication to Hanoi and Vietnamese gastronomy, hopes Michelin stars will help promote local food.

With 103 restaurants in Vietnam recognized, the Michelin Guide list has formally begun a new and historic period for the culinary tourism industry of Vietnam's two major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. 

Artisan Pham Thi Anh Tuyet, known as the master of Hanoi gastronomy, expressed her delight in the recognition of Michelin Guide to Hanoi's cuisine and Vietnam's in talks with The Hanoi Times. 

Michelin stars push chefs to work harder

What do you think about Vietnamese restaurants receiving stars in the Michelin Guide?

Now that Hanoi has three Michelin-starred restaurants, for a person who has dedicated my whole life to preserving and developing the capital's gastronomy, I am ecstatic and very happy. 

What does the Michelin Guide mean for the marketing of Vietnamese food?

I think Vietnamese cuisine has long deserved Michelin stars. Many Vietnamese restaurants serve great traditional dishes. The arrival of the Michelin Guide in Vietnam is a fantastic opportunity for the country's cuisine to flourish and gain recognition. Of course, one of the best things to entice visitors to return is the local cuisine. It can be said that Michelin stars encourage chefs to try. They'll be brave and try more.

 A corner of Vietnamese cuisine at the Michelin Guide ceremony prepared by chef Anh Tuyet. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times

Are you worried that Michelin-starred restaurants will overbook and their quality will suffer?

Many people worry that if Michelin honors restaurants, it will make eating out more expensive. But I think restaurant owners will certainly work harder after receiving this honor from a world-renowned culinary rating organization. If you just want to raise the price and forget about the quality, guests will not come back. The Michelin organization also re-evaluates the quality of service every year and may lower the star or remove it from the list if the restaurant loses its reputation and quality.

Vietnamese cuisine: Simple is best

Where is Vietnamese cuisine on the world map?

Vietnamese cuisine has many opportunities, but we have failed to seize them to promote and build a brand. Many countries have done very well in food marketing. For example, Korea has kimchi, which is just a vegetable dish, but they have turned it into a brand. As for Vietnamese cuisine, there is no clear promotion and development strategy. We have pho and spring rolls, which are also famous and known to many people, but not so prominent that they are remembered.

I used to cater to heads of state at the 2017 APEC Summit in Danang. The leaders came from 21 different cultures, but they all emptied their plates. If it didn't taste good, they wouldn't eat it all. I only used traditional, typical Vietnamese ingredients, but they still gave the tables a certain uniqueness, and in this way, Vietnamese cuisine earned a lot of praise.

 Chef Anh Tuyet is dubbed "Head of State Chef", "The  Living Culinary Book" of Vietnamese cuisine. Photo courtesy of Tuyet

Many believe that Vietnamese dishes prepared in the traditional way are difficult to "internationalize". What do you think?

The first time I sold food to the international market, I didn't have to change anything, I just had to stay true to the traditional flavors of Vietnam.

Experienced chefs can make simple dishes excellent. When I made the menu for the APEC leaders, people also asked me why I didn't use more luxurious ingredients like lobster. But I think these leaders have experienced everything luxurious, so they prefer simple Vietnamese dishes.

That's the talent of a chef when he/she can make high-class cuisine from ordinary ingredients, and people love it. That's Michelin-star cuisine.

Thank you for your time!