BANGKOK — A fine dining restaurant on a tourist island wrecked by the coronavirus pandemic was recognized on Wednesday by Michelin for its eco-friendly practices.
The 2021 edition of the Thailand Michelin’s Guide awarded their first “Green Star” to Pru, known for its European modern cuisine and locally sourced seafood, in a ceremony held at a hotel in Bangkok. Three more restaurants also made it to the prestigious list of Michelin Stars this year.
“Everybody knows with the COVID-19 situation it’s very difficult for everyone,” Jimmy Ophorst, a chef at Pru, said. “Phuket is very empty; the only tourists we get are from Bangkok on the weekends. We try to survive; it’s not easy,”
Ophorst, who hailed from the Netherlands, added, “I hope that by getting this star we can do something for Phuket.”
The newly inaugurated “Green Star” looks for restaurants with sustainable practices such as recycling, sourcing local ingredients, and reducing food waste.
Today’s trophy is also a symbolic comeback for Pru, which had to close down for three months earlier this year due to the virus outbreak. Ophorst said he advised local farmers and fishermen on sustainable farming and fishing practices as well.
“Of course we buy the ingredients from them,” he said. “If it’s not up to our standard we advise them on how to grow it better next time so that they can get a higher price and they can get more money to develop their families.”
The Michelin Guide says Pru only uses seasonal local ingredients, line-caught seafood, and free-range animals. Their ingredients are sourced from Phang Nga and Nakhon Phanom as well as their own 600 rai (96 hectares) farm.
A dinner set menu at Pru costs about 4,500 to 5,000 baht, and includes Phuket lobster.
Manuel Montana, President of Michelin East Asia and Australia said that it was the “right thing to do” to highlight “food for a better tomorrow.”
“We want people to travel, explore, and experience,” Montana said. “During the COVID pandemic, local tourism can and should be key. So don’t forget to bring your copy along!”
At today’s news conference, the guide also unveiled the winners for its coveted ‘stars.’ Like the year prior, the chosen restaurants were in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Phang Nga.
Chef’s Table was promoted from one star to two.
R-Haan and Sorn, the first Thai restaurants to get two stars in 2020, both retained their stars. Le Normandie, Mezzaluna, and Suhring all continued to retain their 2019 stars.
Sushi Masato, Blue by Alain Ducasse, and Cadence by Dan Bark were the three new restaurants to receive a one-star rating.
The three “worked very hard to shine and impress diners during this difficult time,” Tippawan Nitijessadawong, Michelin Guide Thailand director said.
The following 24 restaurants all retained their one star: 80/20, Bo.lan, Canvas, Chim by Siam Wisdom, Elements, Ginza Sushi Ichi, J’aime by Jean-Michel Loran, Jay Fai, Khao (Ekkamai branch), Le Du, Methavalai Sorndaeng, Nahm, Paste, Pru, Saawaan, Saneh Jaan, Savelberg, Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin, and Suanthip.
“Presentation may look plain, but dishes deliver blasts of flavors and refined complexity,” the guide said of Methavalai Sorndaeng.
Pru continued to be the only restaurant outside of Bangkok to have a star rating.
Gaa, Ruean Panya, Table 38, and Upstairs by Mikkeller did not retain their star – Upstairs closed, while Table 38 and Gaa moved locations. Ruean Panya got a Bib Gourmand instead.
The Michelin Guide announced on Dec. 9 their 17 new picks for the Bib Gourmand award for eateries .. A total of 106 eateries in Thailand have the award, which demands that a starter, main, and dessert be under 1,000 baht.
Greater Bangkok: Bunloet, Grim Nguan Noodle, Burapa, Khanom Bueng Wan Phueng Noi (Chok Chai 4), Chang-Wang-Imm, Nai Ngeab (Phuttamonthon Sai 4), Pae Jok 38 Years, Phed Phed Bistro, and Somyos
Phed Phed Bistro at The Circle Ratchapruk is known for their Isaan somtum dishes.
Chiang Mai: Aunt Aoy Kitchen, Go Neng (Wichayanon), Rotee Pa Day
Phuket and Phang-Nga: Hok Kee Lao, Khok Kloi Bami Tom Yam Khai, Khanom Chin Pa Son, Salaloy, and Takola
Other New Awards
The guide also handed out the Young Chef award for the first time in Thailand. The honor went to Sujira Pongmorn, 34, of one-star Saawaan. She was picked among candidates of chefs under 36 of starred restaurants.
Another first for Thailand is the Michelin Guide Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service. General manager Guillaume Barray of Chef’s Table was named as the winner.
The Michelin Guide Thailand 2021 will be available in bookstores for 650 baht starting Dec. 23.