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Why is so-independent Michelin running wine-and-dine events in Hong Kong and Macau?

Michelin is at pains to stress the rigour and independence of its restaurant guide selection process, and Michelin inspectors’ scrupulous application of its methods for deeming which restaurants are worthy of one, two or three coveted stars. So how come it is partnering with Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate to organise wine-and-dine events in Hong Kong and Macau?

The partnership will be announced on the afternoon of Tuesday September 6 at the Grand Ballroom of Studio City in Macau, we were recently informed.

On the face of it, this is a strange collaboration. If Michelin is deciding at which places to hold these events, won’t it affect the integrity of its restaurant guides? We asked its public relations firm Ruder Finn for more details.

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A PR representative said the events Michelin holds are always in hotels, not restaurants. We pointed out that many hotels have Michelin-starred restaurants. (No less than 12 of the 26 restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau awarded two or three Michelin stars in the company’s 2016 guide to the two cities are in hotels.)

In any event, we were told to go to Macau next Tuesday to get more information.

We asked some brand consultants working for food and beverage industry clients for their take on the development, but none were prepared to comment, citing “a conflict of interest”.

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Looks like we may have to schlep over to Macau to get some answers. Stay tuned.