Ask any chef, and they will tell you that the Michelin Man is a kingmaker.
Michelin stars are highly coveted status symbols that are worn like a crown by those who've earn them. But the little étoiles given out by a French tire company also tend to come with a hefty bill; $325 prix fixe tasting menus (sans vin ou foie) are often de rigueur.
The prix fixe at HK Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle is a little cheaper.
There, a serving of—you guessed it—Hong Kong-style soy sauce chicken served over rice or noodles will set you back about US $1.50, which is why the culinary world was rocked last year when the white-tablecloth food guide gave a star to a chicken stall in Singapore. And when you combine that kind of value with Michelin prestige, you have a recipe for compounding success.
Much like the Michelin-starred Hong Kong restaurant Tim Ho Wan, which offers dim sum for under a buck, Chan Hon Meng, owner of the now-famous food stand, will also be expanding far beyond his immediate borders.
Chan has joined forces with multinational food company Hersing Culinary, the same company behind the Tim Ho Wan expansion. In exchange for his Michelin fame, Chan will be getting a 50 percent stake in an 80-guest-capacity restaurant that will offer his signature dish, as well as higher-end offerings. It will also have air conditioning and actual seats.
"I'm very happy to find the right partner," Chan told reporters during a press conference. "It's important that they are very enthusiastic about the food and beverage industry and they put their customers first."
Clearly, Chan has picked up corporate jargon quickly.
But he is already looking at the next step. Before this most recent deal was announced, he was already telling media that he wanted his brand to "go into the overseas market and I want it to be run like a franchise, like KFC." It's worth noting that Tim Ho Wan now has 38 locations in nine different countries.
Who knows? With any luck, Chan Hon Meng's face will become as iconic as the Colonel's, and the children of the future will be eating soy-braised chicken out of buckets… as they ask their parents what a Michelin star is.