Michelin Guide anoints Chicago stars prematurely

November 16, 2010

What a debacle.  Over the past few weeks, the folks at the Michelin Guide have been talking about how they would announce their Chicago stars on Wednesday, November 17th.  It would be impossible to speak with the Guide's Director, Jean-Luc Naret, until after Wednesday, I was told, since the announcement was so top secret - even the restaurants wouldn't be notified until he called them himself that day.

So much for secrecy.  

Apparently, the folks at Amazon don't keep Michelin release dates a high priority on their shipping calendars, since a Yelper got wind of the results yesterday, thereby forcing Michelin to send out a press release this morning, announcing the starred restaurants.  They are:

3 stars: Alinea, L.20

2 stars: Avenues, Charlie Trotter's, Ria

1 star: Blackbird, Boka, Bonsoirée, Crofton on Wells, Everest, graham elliot, Longman & Eagle, NAHA, NoMI, Schwa, Seasons, Sepia, Sixteen, Spiaggia, Takashi, Topolobampo, Tru, Vie

It's bad enough the organization allowed the leak.  If it was that serious of an announcement, couldn't Michelin have made sure that Amazon didn't ship until Wednesday, or at least left Jeff Bezos a voicemail about it? But more significant than the logistics flub, is the fact that - according to the Michelin inspectors, who've allegedly been living and eating here for the past year or so - Bonsoirée and Longman & Eagle are now allegedly playing in the same sandbox as Topolobampo and Spiaggia.  If that's the case, does that mean Avec, North Pond, Arun's and Les Nomades are suddenly reduced to "not-even-worth-visiting-when-in-Chicago-because-we-don't-have-a-star" status? Also, how is it that San Francisco has 39 starred restaurants, and Chicago only has 23?  Lots of questions, and fortunately, I'll be interviewing Mr. Naret this week about it.  Check back here Friday for the complete podcast.

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