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Restaurants

The Michelin Guide Dropped The Ball In Their Recognition of Los Angeles

“They really are going to have to eat their words if they want to come back and do it the right way in Los Angeles, and the truth is that they probably won’t.” Poignant commentary from Eater LA Senior Writer Farley Elliott regarding the Michelin Guide’s return to Los Angeles. He made these comments along with other critical insights on the guide in a recent appearance on the Foodbeast podcast, The Katchup, predicting how its renewed recognition of the Los Angeles dining scene would more than likely fall flat in representing the city appropriately.

“If they don’t put a San Gabriel Valley restaurant on there, if they don’t put a taco truck on there and give one of these places that are everyday dining options a star, people like you are just going to continue to laugh it off and rightfully so,” declared Elliott on the podcast. And you know what? Once I heard the results of the starred winners earlier this week, I did laugh, albeit ironically. Because as Farley predicted, the Michelin Guide did come back to Los Angeles and they did drop the ball on representing the city correctly.

Now this is no knock on the restaurants earning their deserved stars and Bib Gourmands, nor is it deflecting the recognition and merit. But the Michelin Guide really had an opportunity to highlight just how unique and diverse Los Angeles’ culinary landscape is these days, yet instead stuck to their antiquated model that favored European fine dining and expensive sushi restaurants. The high price points of the starred winners were — surprise, surprise — the commonality they had between them.

Perhaps it’s simply the Michelin Guide having to adjust and familiarize themselves with the sui generis dining nature of Angelenos. And judging by the disappointment the city’s major food media outlets expressed over the results, they’ll probably get the hint. Hopefully. Because when Angelenos look to dine out, some nights it will look like delicious Spanish fare at Otoño followed by boba in Koreatown then capped off with a late night snack at taco stands like Avenue 26. Other nights it will look like a posh tasting menu at Kato, which then wraps up at beloved taco truck Mariscos Jalisco. It’s L.A., we’re the masters of high-low.

Make no mistake, I’m encouraged that Los Angeles is recognized by an authority such as the Michelin Guide as a legit dining destination. But does it validate the city’s legitimacy as an exciting and bona fide food city? Not one bit. Yet, with the guide’s return comes added revenue and awareness, which I’m hopeful is a step in the right direction towards Thai restaurants, Filipino restaurants, Korean Restaurants and other deserving dining destinations that reflect how Angelenos dine regularly, being awarded appropriately in next year’s Michelin Guide for California.

 

For a full list of Michelin-starred winners in Los Angeles, they’re as follows:

ONE STAR RESTAURANTS

  • Bistro Na’s
  • CUT
  • Dialogue
  • Hayato
  • Kali
  • Kato
  • Le Comptoir
  • Maude
  • Mori Sushi
  • Nozawa Bar
  • Orsa & Winston
  • Osteria Mozza
  • Q Sushi
  • Rustic Canyon
  • Shibumi
  • Shin Sushi
  • Shunji
  • Trois Mec

TWO STAR RESTAURANTS

  • n/naka
  • Providence
  • Somni
  • Sushi Ginza Onodera
  • Urasawa
  • Vespertine

THREE STAR RESTAURANTS

(none)

 

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Celebrity Grub Culture Restaurants

Dominique Crenn Finally Becomes America’s First Female Chef To Earn 3 Michelin Stars

For groundbreaking chef Dominique Crenn, this award was long past overdue.

Photo: City Foodsters // Flickr, CC 2.0

In the newly updated 2019 San Francisco Michelin Guide, Crenn and her signature restaurant Atelier Crenn were awarded their third Michelin Star. It’s the first time Crenn has ever been given the honor, and it also makes her the first female chef in U.S. history to ever earn the coveted third star.

Atelier Crenn was awarded its second star back in 2012, putting Crenn and her team on the map and elevated her platform to be a strong activist voice in the food industry. Because of her stance on gender equality in the kitchen, there were some who believed that judges on the Michelin circuit may have slighted her on purpose in the years following, prolonging her progress to a third star. Andrew Zimmern has even compared the Michelin guide to an “old white boys’ club” for their reputation of having low numbers of female-run restaurants on the list and giving little attention to POC or other global cuisine outside of expensive tasting menus..

Nonetheless, Chef Crenn has finally been given the spot in restaurant history she’s been chasing for the past six years, and even began a new quest for a three-star restaurant at the same time. Her new San Francisco concept, Bar Crenn, was given its own first Michelin Star in the 2019 Guide.

“I’m humbled,” Crenn told the New York Times in an interview following the news breaking. “We worked so hard for so many years and this is a dream. Today we’re celebrating, but tomorrow we go back to work.”

As for her new role in history, she had this to say: “It’s a platform I now have; I must inspire others and make a difference.”

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Celebrity Grub Restaurants

Andrew Zimmern Slams The Michelin Guide, Thinks It’s Becoming ‘Irrelevant’

The Michelin Guide has long been considered one of the most reputable lists of the top restaurants in the world. However, it has come under harsh criticism in recent years, particularly with the Guide’s low number of female-headed eateries, and the pressure that has driven chefs to request being taken off of the list.

You can now add chef, author, and TV personality Andrew Zimmern to that list of critics, as he just took the Michelin Guide (amongst others) to town in an interview with Extra Crispy.

A post shared by Andrew Zimmern (@chefaz) on

“I do not believe Michelin stars are relevant anymore at all,” he said, calling out the Michelin Guide and the San Pellegrino 100, another prestigious list of restaurants, in the interview.

Zimmern feels that these guides are growing out of touch because of the vast amount of territory they choose to not cover.

“You look at the vast majority of restaurants in the San Pellegrino 100 for example, or the vast number of restaurants that have received Michelin stars, and they ignore such a large volume of the world’s culinary scene, it’s shocking to me. South Asia, Africa, and even with as much South American representation as there is, so much is ignored. I’m really stunned by it.”

To Zimmern, these guides and their restaurants are just the “tip of the spear” as to what food really can be. That makes sense, given how little global coverage the Michelin version actually has. It only covers 25 different countries in total, and even then, has guides more specific to cities rather than entire nations. Even in the United States, culinary bastions like Charleston and Austin get stiffed because no guide for their town exists, and the food can be just as good or even better than the restaurants getting stars in other locations.

Zimmern also feels that “ethnicity, ethnocentrism, and sexism” has become “extremely hurtful” in how those guides are constructed. “You don’t have to look very closely at any of it to see that it’s an old white boys’ club,” he said.

So if you are looking for some of the top food wherever you are, what do you turn to if not the Michelin Guide or the San Pellegrino 100? “You have a cell phone,” Zimmern says, describing it as the best tool to find the tastiest eats in your area. “You can access food writers, chefs, line cooks, and local publications in three minutes on Twitter to vet the five best eating experiences in any city or town in the world.”

A post shared by Andrew Zimmern (@chefaz) on

As for the guides, Zimmern believes he can lend a hand in making them more relevant.

“There are not many people who are well suited to critique how that list is done,” he states, “I happen to think that I’m one of them. The reason that I do and say that is because I’m actually traveling all over the world eating at these places.”

It’s a spicy take from Zimmern to call out those prestigious guides in such a way, but it may be a wake-up call that they can use to diversify their lists to make them more contemporary.

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News Restaurants

Three Michelin-Star Restaurant Owner Asks To Be Removed From the Esteemed Guide

After enjoying about 18 years as one of the world’s top restaurants, one French restaurant is asking the esteemed Michelin guide to take their three-Michelin-star restaurant off of the list.

Sébastien Bras, current owner of Le Suquet à Laguiole and son of world-famous chef Michel Bras, has formally requested that his restaurant not be mentioned in the 2018 Michelin Guide. Bras has been in charge of the Michelin-star restaurant for the past 10 years.

Le Monde reports that Bras’s reasoning for this decision is the pressures and expectations that come with operating such a high-quality dining spot. Bras hopes to proceed forward “with a free spirit and without stress, to offer a cuisine and service that represents that spirit and our land.”

In a video statement posted to the Bras Official Facebook page, Bras says that he wants to open a chapter of his career “without the award of the Michelin Guide, but with so much passion for the kitchen.” It seems like Bras is hoping to make some changes to his restaurant without having to deal with potential criticism from Michelin Guide inspectors, which can put serious pressure on a restaurant’s Michelin star rating.

Michelin executive committee member Claire Dorland-Clauzel says that the request is “a first” for the Michelin Guide. The request is going to be considered, but Dorland-Clauzel made no guarantees to Le Monde, saying that the guide is made for customers, not restaurant owners.

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Adventures News Now Trending Restaurants

You Can Now Apply To Be A Michelin Guide Restaurant Inspector

Ever wonder how the Michelin Guide comes out with its massive list of Michelin-starred restaurants every year? It’s largely in part to the many inspectors they have traveling the world, tasting and reporting on restaurants in every corner of the planet.

Now you have the chance to join their ranks, as the Michelin company is looking for a new inspector.

As an inspector, your job would be to go incognito and inspect both restaurants and hotels to determine their “suitability for inclusion” in the Michelin guide, which is as much of a travel guide as it is a top international gastronomic authority.

The responsibilities may be grueling to some, though. A Michelin inspector that CNN interviewed said that on the job, you could be eating out for an average of 275 meals, and traveling three weeks out of a regular year. On top of that, you need to have a laundry list of pseudonyms you can travel under to keep your cover as an inspector intact.

The official qualifications to be a part of this job are tough. At minimum, you need a bachelor’s degree in culinary, food studies, hospitality management, plus ten or more years in the hotel, restaurant, or another relevant industry, and the ability travel regularly while working lots of evenings.

If that all sounds fine to you, though, and you meet the requirements for this position, then definitely give it a shot. From the description of your duties, being a Michelin Guide inspector should be the adventure of a lifetime.

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News Restaurants

A Humble Burger Joint Was Accidentally Awarded A Michelin Star, Here’s Why

leboucheaoreille

Photo taken with Google Streetview

By standards, you’re awarded a Michelin star because your restaurant is top-quality, has amazing service, and serves out-of-this-world, revolutionary food.

Other times, you’re awarded a Michelin star because the Michelin Guide accidentally confuses you with another restaurant.

That’s what happened to Le Bouche à Oreille in Bourges, France, who was awarded a Michelin star based on the interactive map released by the Michelin Guide earlier this month. However, according to the New York Times, the Michelin star was actually meant for a restaurant with the same name — but over 100 miles away, in Boutervilliers.

The differences between the two restaurants could not be more stark. The Bourges location is a small, lunch-only bistro that offers burgers, fries, a buffet, and specializes in sausage and lentils, all priced at less than $13.50. The Boutervilliers Michelin-starred location has lobster, turbot, and foie gras regularly on the menu, and it’s prices can range from 20-60 Euros.

Despite all of the confusion, Le Bouche à Oreille in Boutervilliers will be keeping its Michelin star, and the mix-up has since been fixed. However, the Bourges location did benefit from all of the media attention it’s getting as a result — and the owner even has an invite to come eat at the Michelin-starred restaurant of the same name.

What a great silver lining to this Michelin-starred mishap.