By Justine Murphy, CEO of mymuybueno
I have an enormous love for cooking and food. I have twenty years of experience under my belt in hospitality, from my time working in restaurant management to working on super yachts as a personal chef, as well as dining out all around the world. Therefore my palate, my eye and my attention to detail are exceptionally well refined.
I work with chefs every single day as a chef agent and I see the portfolios of some of the very best chefs in the world. I also engage with them as part for our mymuybueno Chefs division, selecting chefs, discovering new talent and discussing dishes as well as continuing to learn new skills and increasing my own culinary training.
I travel the world meeting clients and building my company. I stay in some of the most beautiful luxury hotels and always ensure that I visit a number of Michelin star restaurants in every country I am in. It feels like a natural step to start writing up my experiences to share with you. Each visit I make is hugely important, as it ensures that I can be kept up to date with both the chefs and clients with whom I work closely, and that my knowledge of restaurants, new skills and techniques and chefs is up to date as well, so that mymuybueno is fully integrated into the world of good food. This is applied throughout my whole company. I also meet with the restaurant team and, when possible, have a tour of the kitchen, asking questions that are of interest to our chef and foodie followers around the world, as well as building relationships with the restaurant and chefs. It’s also hugely exciting for me to learn how elements of the dishes are achieved, from the chefs themselves, especially signature dishes. Not only are my reviews shared here, but whilst doing the review I am also updating our @mymuybuenochefs Instagram Story so that our followers can experience the meal with me live, as it happens.
Therefore, when I visit establishments around the world, I have very high standards of what should be delivered if a Michelin star is held.
The Michelin Guide states:
One star signifies a very good restaurant.
Two stars signify excellent cooking that is worth a detour.
Three stars signify exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey.
Having eaten at one, two and three star establishments, there is a really clear and obvious path of what sets them all apart. In my opinion, a one Michelin star should be a really good restaurant with great-tasting food and excellent service.
A two star should make your palate come alive and every dish provide a child-like excitement, something that bit more special. Service should be executed perfectly.
Three stars should be flawless from start to finish. This applies to the whole package and experience, including service, atmosphere and, of course, the food.
I have absolutely have come to expect a few very important factors from every establishment and to hold a coveted star these should always be met with.
The chefs and staff must be meticulously trained to ensure everyone is working together and on the same page, both on the floor, and between the floor and the kitchen, to ensure timing works well. Good communication is essential.
As such, each review works on the same template, and certain factors will always be noted.
Menu to take home:
Meal for two, including wine, water and service:
The wine will be noted in case you would like to follow suit with the same selection on your own visit. I apologise for the lack of images on some of my earlier reviews (and some also some miss the wine) but I am slowly getting better with each visit, and will soon be taking food photography classes so I can share even better images.
I will also mention my favourite dish, as it’s important to highlight which one dish surpassed everything else. Also, when my guest or I return from the bathroom, I would like to see a freshly folded napkin (if it is dirty) and if it is clean, then the original napkin should be folded, using cutlery to do so. If dining solo, I always make a point of going to the bathroom mid-meal to test this.
I always request a menu to be left on the table so I can clearly follow the tasting menu well and am able to anticipate what is coming up next. Sometimes I do not need to ask, as it is done for me, which is a definite plus and speaks volumes. A menu given as a memento is a must, and I am always extremely disappointed when I do not receive one. Personally I like to have it to hand when writing up my notes from my reviews, but for anyone else, going to a Michelin star restaurant is an experience, and having a keepsake of the day and what you ate is something that the establishment should provide as a matter of course.
I review restaurants solo or with my husband, with friends, with clients, or with chefs. On my review summary I always calculate the price based on a meal for two guests dining, as this reflects the most commonly booked guest seating, and gives you an average price to factor in if you wish to visit. When dining solo, the experience can be very different to dining with a party of others. Many points are noted, as it is not just my experience and the plates and the service I am assessing – it’s the whole package every time. Each review is solely my opinion, based on my palate and expertise, and my actual experience on the date of visit. I also have a crab allergy, so how this is handled is noted also.
I end the review with my final thought, which will sum up my experience in a few short lines.
What you can expect from each of my reviews, is absolute honesty about my experience. My company and brand mymuybueno stand for my core values of Pride, Integrity, Ambition, Passion and Love. I never recommend somewhere or someone or something unless I genuinely have experienced it and love it and I would like anyone trying the product or service to experience the very same. I cannot say something is good if it’s not. Therefore I would hope that my reviews will provide constructive criticism when the ball is dropped, and that this is taken on board by the establishment to help better and improve themselves, as we are always learning and growing.
At a later date, I will be introducing the opportunity for chefs around the world to act as ambassadors and reviewers for mymuybueno, and the same template criteria will exist so that we have continuity, in the very same way that we do throughout our entire mymuybueno group.
I hope you all enjoy my reviews and you can follow me @mymuybueno too.
Full photography credit must be referenced. All images © Justine Murphy, mymuybueno Ltd.