Chef Sues Michelin Guide for Including His Restaurant

Eo Yun-Gwon says he asked to be excluded but was ignored

A view of the 'Michelin 2019' sign seen outside a restaurant in Beuvron-en-Auge. in Caen, Normandy, France. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A view of the 'Michelin 2019' sign seen outside a restaurant in Beuvron-en-Auge. in Caen, Normandy, France. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / November 25, 2019 9:55 am

There’s not being able to take a compliment, and then there’s this: a chef in South Korea is suing Michelin for including his restaurant in the 2019 edition of their prestigious guide.

Eo Yun-Gwon of Ristorante Eo filed a public insult complaint under South Korean law — similar to a libel or slander complaint here in the United States — because he said he asked to be removed from the Michelin Guide, but his restaurant was included anyway. “There are thousands of restaurants in Seoul that are on the same level or better and more honest than those listed on the Michelin guide,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “It is a sad joke that a mere 170 of them are representing Seoul.”

On Nov. 15, he announced the suit by writing, “I have filed a criminal complaint against Michelin Guide’s behavior of forcibly listing [restaurants] against their will and without a clear criteria. Including my restaurant Eo in the corrupt book is a defamation against members of Eo and the fans. Like a ghost, they did not have a contact number and I was only able to get in touch through email. Although I clearly refused listing of my restaurant, they included it at their will this year as well.”

However, as one South Korean criminal attorney told CNN, he’s unlikely to win. “There needs to be an insulting statement that would cut down one’s social standing,” Shin Ha-na said. “Usually, there needs to be curse words. Since the guide didn’t print profanity, I don’t think the charge will stand.”

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