Say what you will about the Michelin guide—that its rating system is outdated, that it stunts creativity among chefs, that it's inherently elitist, etc.—for most restaurants, receiving a Michelin star is still a momentous occasion. Earlier this year, Chan Hon Meng, the owner of a Hong Kong-style food stall in Singapore, became the first street food vendor to earn a coveted star, and the experience was life-changing.
Last Wednesday, Michelin’s first mainland Chinese guide debuted in Shanghai, awarding a total of 31 stars to restaurants throughout the country’s most populous city.
“The richness and quality of Shanghai’s culinary scene completely won us over,” Michael Ellis, the international director of the guidebooks, said in a statement. “The city is an economic and cultural crossroads, and its gastronomy is the result of a strong culinary heritage which makes the dining scene very exciting.”
While all of that may be true, the ride was short lived for one Shanghai restaurant. According to the South China Morning Post, a one-star, 29-seat restaurant called Tai’an Table was forced to shutter one day after receiving the honor because it was missing two crucial licenses the Shanghai Industry and Commerce Bureau and the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration.
Owned by the German chef Stefan Stiller, Tai’an Table served two set menus, offering a 14-dish meal for roughly $200, and a 10-dish meal for roughly $150. Following the closure, the restaurant announced it would be reopening in November at a new location on Zhenning Road, but would continue to serve similar fare.
"When my friend and business partner Ji Wen Yuan and I started this project early this year our idea and concept was to build a small place to entertain our friends and to have some foodies and chef friends around to create new and creative dishes,” Stiller wrote in a Facebook post. “We certainly never intentionally planned to violate any rules, regulations and laws. Since Taian Table was planned as a private place the size of the kitchen and the layout is not according to the local regulations and was also limiting our capacity.”
Luckily, the new Stiller's new location will feature a larger kitchen, and the restaurant is currently applying for the necessary licenses.