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First Michelin Guide launched in Moscow

October 15, 2021

The move marks the Russian capital's shift into being a gourmet destination. Nine restaurants were handed stars, with Twin Gardens and Artest handed two.

A ceremony takes plae at the Zaryadye Concert Hall in Moscow to award Michelin stars to Moscow restaurants and chefs
Moscow was once known for having empty shop shelves in Soviet timesImage: Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS/dpa/picture alliance

The Michelin Guide awarded nine Moscow restaurants with its stars on Thursday, revealing the first lineup of recommended eateries in Russia's up-and-coming food scene.

Long known for having empty shop shelves during Soviet times, the Russian capital now joins the ranks of the world's top gourmet destinations.

Russia's restaurant scene has emerged in recent years from a post-Soviet reputation for blandness. Representatives of the Michelin Guide, considered the international standard of restaurant rankings, released the first Moscow edition of their iconic red book at a ceremony in the capital.

A total of 69 restaurants were recommended. Two restaurants, Twins Garden run by twin brothers Ivan and Sergei Berezutskiy, and chef Artem Estafev's Artest, were handed two stars.

A 'historic' day

"Thank you, Michelin Guide, for coming to Russia and believing in all of us," said Ivan Berezutskiy of Twins Garden, receiving the award alongside his identical brother Sergei.

"Today is a historic event for the whole restaurant market, Moscow has really become one of the gastronomic capitals of the world."

Seven restaurants received one star, including White Rabbit, whose chef Vladimir Mukhin featured in an episode of the Netflix series "Chef's Table." None, however, were given three stars.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said at the ceremony that the release of the guide was an important event at a tough time for the restaurant industry.

"It's big moral support in this time of pandemic, when restaurants are having a particularly difficult time," said Sobyanin.

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Russian cuisine makes post-Soviet comeback

He added that it also showed that Russia had rediscovered a food tradition that had suffered under the Soviet Union.

"Unfortunately during the Soviet period these traditions were lost," he said. "I am proud that Moscow's restaurants have become a calling card for our fantastic city."

Michelin's international director Gwendal Poullennec told a press conference that the guide had used an international team of inspectors for its list and there was "no compromise in our methodology."

In a statement, Michelin hailed the emergence of a generation of talented Russian chefs and the quality of their ingredients, including Vladivostok king crab, Borodinsky bread and halibut from Murmansk.

Revered as the bible of gastronomy and known for its exacting standards, Michelin published its first guide in 1900 and was active in Russia before the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.

lc/nm (AFP, Reuters)