Michelin Guide Los Angeles Restaurants & Hotels 2009. Who Won? Who Lost? Who Cares? See For Yourself.
Jean-Luc Naret, Director of the Michelin Guide.
Take two! The second ever Michelin Guide for Los Angeles Restaurants & Hotels is hot off the presses. The Michelin star winning (and losing) restaurants have been notified via a personal phone call by guide director Jen-Luc Naret. So far none of the chefs have reacted too extremely other than hitting the sauce a little harder at the bar.
I had the privilege of lunching with Director Naret as well as other masters of the dining universe at a media luncheon in the posh London Hotel of West Hollywood. A nice and simple John Dory atop a creamy pile of herb risotto was furnished by the London's Gordon Ramsay Restaurant. Gordon the Terrible wasn't actually at the lunch, but Jean-Luc told our table that Ramsay was happy to receive a star for his LA spot.
Personally, the Michelin Guide doesn't influence my culinary explorations of Los Angeles restaurants since I typically eat at places that an inspector would never go near (with the exception of an LA health inspector). Could this be a reverse snobbery situation happening?
A reality check: In our current economic straits, the Red Guide, with its focus on the high end and elite eateries, may just sit on bookstore shelves collecting dust. If used at all, it'll be the establishments with the fewest "$" not the most stars under its name that get butts in dining chairs. Many of these more affordable restaurants call the San Gabriel Valley home. And I am very happy to see the SGV freshly represented in the book. You simply can't seriously publish a restaurant guide book, gourmet or not, without including the SGV in the mix.
That said, I'll leave you all with this nugget of wisdom from Mr. Naret: If you are a chef and you get a call from me while you're driving, please pull over to the side of the road. Then we can talk.
Now, that's Michelin guidance I can roll with. Which reminds me, I need new tires. Doesn't Michelin sell those round rubber things?
Eddie Lin, Hugh Garvey, features editor for Bon Appetit, and Jean-Luc Naret.
Good meeting you at the Michelin luncheon. You ask a great question: Who cares? That's one issue that Naret didn't actually address. Who is Michelin targeting with the L.A. guide? Most of their picks are west of the 110, so it's probably tourists. Do locals actually have much use for this book when there are already trusted resources like Jonathan Gold and the LA Times?