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The Warsaw Voice » Business » April 25, 2013
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Taste of Success
April 25, 2013   
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Poland may not be a hotbed of haute cuisine, but it does, at last, have its first Michelin star. And that could inspire Polish chefs set their sights higher, Rebecca Burr, editor-in-chief of the Michelin Main Cities of Europe guide, tells the Voice.

Why did Michelin inspectors recently decide to give Warsaw’s Atelier Amaro a Michelin star? What’s so special about this restaurant?
It’s simple—the food is worthy of a Michelin star. It fulfilled all our criteria, which includes superb ingredients, consistently prepared, wonderful flavors and individuality.

Poles tend to be attached to their traditional dishes but some foreigners are less impressed. They complain the food here is greasy, unhealthy and over-reliant on meat. Is this why only one Polish restaurant has a Michelin star?
I think it is fair to say that the food in Poland has improved in recent years. Traditional dishes are good and essentially what people are looking for when visiting a city to sample the typical cuisine. We recommend many types of restaurants and when they incorporate authentic dishes that makes it very interesting. Certainly eating habits around the world have changed and it is when the chefs refine the cooking technique to traditional dishes that the talent really shines. Hopefully, there will be more starred restaurants in the future that do represent the native cuisine.

Is the first Michelin star a breakthrough for Poland?
It shows that the standard in Poland is on the up and certainly it puts Poland on the culinary map.

Polish food was very substantial and that is the tradition and nothing to be ashamed of. We feel the selection of recommendations we have in the Michelin guide is varied and interesting and a visit to the city now combines authentic flavors with some modern touches—and at times people are looking for a lighter cuisine.

What other trends do you see in Polish cuisine?
We are witnessing a new era of chefs that have worked worldwide and returned with ideas to offer much more choice and better quality in everyday places whilst retaining the traditional cuisine.

Could the first Michelin star for a Polish restaurant be the start of a trend?
I hope so. Often when one place starts the trend others join and hopefully more chefs feel there is a demand. Therefore it creates a reason for visitors to stay longer and sample more places to eat.

Are the Polish restaurants in the Michelin guide listed for the benefit of Poles as well as foreigners? The average Pole may feel the prices charged by some of these places are beyond his reach.

Of course, many restaurants will only exist if the “locals” support them all year round. Many of the recommendations in Poland are very reasonably priced and the starred restaurants are not always the most expensive in many of our cities.
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