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This is how Michelin Green Star is inspiring sustainable gastronomy in the Middle East

Gwendal Poullennec of Michelin Guide says there is an increasing commitment to cooking with local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients

This is how Michelin Green Star is inspiring sustainable gastronomy in the Middle East
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

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Along with this remarkable growth in tourism, the demand for diverse culinary experiences is peaking, bringing in a dynamic set of restaurants and cafes. However, this surge in tourism also brings challenges, including increased food consumption and, inevitably, food wastage, but culinary leaders can lead by example.

Michelin Guide International Director Gwendal Poullennec believes the food and beverage industry can inspire sustainable gastronomy, including adequate food waste management.

Launched three years ago, the Michelin Green Star now includes restaurants showcasing the growing importance of sustainability in the F&B industry.

The Michelin Green Star is a complementary distinction dedicated to sustainable gastronomy, considering various sustainability criteria, including crucial aspects such as food waste. However, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for restaurants to adopt sustainable gastronomy. 

“More chefs are committing to inspiring virtuous practices. Simultaneously, gourmets and travelers are becoming increasingly aware of sustainability, creating a growing demand for it,” says Poullennec. 

By highlighting these dedicated professionals, we aim to share inspiring gastronomic approaches. We want to acknowledge their efforts and encourage a broader shift in personal habits, promoting increased sustainability in our daily lives, adds Poullennec.


Highlighting the trends in the culinary industry related to sustainability, he says, “To receive the Michelin Green Star, our selection team assesses various initiatives that showcase a strong and sincere commitment to sustainable gastronomy.”

These initiatives can vary based on each restaurant’s challenges, limitations, capacity for action, and surroundings. “None of the 506 Green Starred restaurants in our selection follows the same approach, demonstrating that everyone can develop their sustainable processes.”

There is an increasing commitment to cooking with local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients regarding global trends. In doing so, restaurants transform into “culinary ambassadors” of their local territory. 

“This forges economic and social ties with their communities and enhances their distinctiveness. Their cuisine becomes more rooted and less standardized by emphasizing local food resources and drawing inspiration from regional culinary traditions and heritage,” he says.

In recent years, chefs have become global trendsetters, sharing their ideas and philosophies with extensive communities and engaging customers and professional peers.

“By awarding the Michelin Green Star to restaurants, we consider pioneers and frontrunners. We aim to provide them with additional visibility. We aspire to contribute to spreading their inspiring philosophies, ultimately influencing other restaurants and consumers,” he adds. 

For Poullennec, the goal is to foster a positive emulation and encourage a sustainable transition within the food industry.

For example, when the Michelin Green Star is awarded to restaurants that work closely with local and sustainable suppliers, and exclusive content is created on communication platforms to showcase these initiatives, the goal is to demonstrate that alternative ways of cooking and producing food are possible. “Ultimately, we aim to encourage change through inspiration and motivation.”


He says the second edition of the Abu Dhabi Michelin Guide reflects Abu Dhabi’s growing food scene. “The diverse selection of 21 cuisine types perfectly reflects Abu Dhabi’s Art de Vivre and its welcoming culture, as the city is filled with fascinating traditions and gathers over 200 nationalities in one place.”

The recent openings, including standout venues like Les Dangereux, awarded with the Special Opening of the Year Award, demonstrate this destination’s growth. 

Additionally, this edition welcomed an Emirati restaurant into the Michelin Star family.  

“With the emergence of new hotel and restaurant concepts, Abu Dhabi is attracting an increasing number of international travelers each year,” he adds. “Gourmets and travelers visiting Abu Dhabi can experience various culinary offerings. Whether authentic eateries or more sophisticated restaurants, Abu Dhabi has much to offer.”

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