Just one day after receiving a highly-coveted star in Shanghai’s first Michelin Guide, Taian Table has been shut down. Turns out the restaurant was operating without a license.
German chef Stefan Stiller launched the small restaurant on Taian Road in April of this year, applying for a business and catering license. There was just one problem, the restaurant was located in a residential building, and therefore ineligible for a catering license.
However, it continued operating without either license — until it received a Michelin star on Wednesday. The Changning District Market Supervision and Management Bureau has since ordered that the restaurant be shut down, Shanghai Daily reports. Taian Table will now move to a new location, and the bureau has ordered management to issue a statement informing the public about the move.
Earlier today, Stiller released a statement, saying that he never meant any harm:
When my friend and business partner Frank Ji 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.
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.
After we noticed the great demand and success of our concept we decided to relocate the restaurant to a larger space where we can apply to all required licenses. Constructions and renovations are under progress.
The new space will have a larger kitchen and we have more capabilities to work better and increase our quality.
A notice has also been posted on the door of the restaurant, telling diners about the sudden closure and move:
Meanwhile, Michelin has responded to the controversy by emphasizing that they judge the quality of the restaurant, not whether it is properly licensed or not.
“The job of Michelin inspectors are tasting and judging food, and they never ask for any materials from restaurants,” a Michelin spokesperson told Shanghai Daily. “Michelin guide is just restaurant recommendation, and anything related with restaurants’ operation is none of our business.”
Here’s what Michelin had to say about Taian Table for its guide published just two days ago:
Stefan Stiller is an experimental German chef well known in the Shanghai restaurant world. His graceful restaurant with its two counters and central kitchen is the ideal setting for his innovative cuisine and provides seating for 28 guests. His menu changes monthly and makes good use of excellent ingredients and clever recipes. As walk-in customers are not accepted, booking is a must (and that can only be done online).
Ouch, looks like Michelin really liked the ambiance of that place.
Shanghai’s first Michelin Guide has been widely panned by Shanghai’s F&B community for awarding stars to many restaurants that critics believe are simply not up to snuff. One of those Michelin-starred establishments that has been criticized was Taian Table, which had been open for a mere six months. Jiefang Daily believes that the timing of Taian Table’s abrupt closing is no coincidence, with the restaurant’s jealous enemies tipping off local authorities about its legal status.
[Images via Shanghai Daily / ShanghaiWOW]