The Government today considered that the presentation of the Iberian Michelin Guide in Lisbon, for the first time, confirms the projection of high Portuguese cuisine in the world and pointed the chefs as “spearheads” of the “affirmation of the gastronomic heritage”.
Lisbon hosts the gala to present the 2019 edition of the Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal for the first time after previous ceremonies have always taken place in Spain.
The fact that this year, when it celebrates the 10th gala, Michelin has chosen Portugal is, for Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, “a milestone that shows precisely the growing importance that Portuguese gastronomy has in terms of international relevance “.
The governor recalled that two years ago, Portugal had 17 stars in the Iberian guide, and in the current edition counts 28 (five restaurants with two stars and 18 with one), representing “a huge leap in terms of qualification and recognition of our chefs, “he said, pointing to the election of José Avillez (‘Belcanto’, two stars) as the best in the world, according to the International Academy of Gastronomy, as” a very important step in the internationalization of the Portuguese gastronomy brand ” .
Portuguese gastronomy and wines are gaining more and more international space and are also an opportunity to “show the territory and open the map of Portugal,” the official said in an interview.
“Our offer is distributed all over the country and is an increasingly important way to get people to discover Portugal, very much associated with our local products, agricultural products, wine and also with experiences of the discovery of the territory,” he said.
As an example, Ana Mendes Godinho recalled that in October, Portugal entered the top 4 as the best destination for gastronomy and wines in the North American market, according to “one of the great American luxury operators, to Virtuoso “.
In addition, he mentioned, in 2016 Portuguese gastronomy and wine were the subject of around 960 news in the international press and, this year, the Government estimates that this number doubles.
Ana Mendes Godinho expects “the recognition” of the Portuguese chefs at the gala next Wednesday, during which the distinctions with one, two and three Michelin stars of Portugal and Spain will be announced in 2019.
“Our chefs have been spectacular ambassadors of Portugal,” he said, comparing them to “international spearheads affirming the Portuguese gastronomic heritage, which have been so well reinvented, maintaining authenticity and introducing sophistication.”
“They are true magicians, they have also shown this ability of Portugal to be this very innovative destination, but above all based on its authenticity, which is what sets us apart from all others,” said the head of Tourism.
About the ceremony of the next day 21, estimated at “more than 400 thousand euros”, more than 500 guests are expected to attend, including chefs, businessmen and institutional representatives from both countries, as well as more than 100 journalists. most of which is Spanish.
The organization of the event is the result of a “public-private partnership”, involving Turismo de Portugal, the Lisbon Chamber and the Lisbon Tourism Association, in which companies from the region participate.
On the expected return, Ana Mendes Godinho said that the evaluation is done by the number of participants, but also by the media impact and international repercussion of the event.
National authorities are preparing a program, under the guise of the Michelin Guide, to bring foreign journalists “to the discovery of gastronomy and wines” in regions where Michelin Guide stars are distinguished: Alentejo and Algarve: Center; North and Madeira.
During the gala, which will take place at the Carlos Lopes Pavilion, seven chefs from the region of Lisbon will prepare the dinner: José Avillez; and, with a star, Henrique Sá Pessoa (Alma); Alexandre Silva (Loco); Joachim Koerper (Eleven); João Rodrigues (Feitoria); Miguel Rocha Vieira (Fortaleza do Guincho), and Sergi Arola (LAB).