Michelin Guide Honors 5 Local Restaurants
Speaker 1: 00:00 The new old California Michelin restaurant guide is right around the corner. And some San Diego restaurants have already been added to their list. They all California guide just started in 2019. Then the pandemic forced suspension of the guide last year. So the return of Michelin 2021 is a note of hope for the restaurant industry as it struggles to get back on its feet. Joining me to talk about the new guide is Pam Craigan, who covers dining for the San Diego union Tribune and Pam. Welcome. Speaker 2: 00:32 Thank you very much, Maureen. It's great to be back. So Speaker 1: 00:35 Most people are familiar with the Michelin guide with its star ratings for restaurants, but for all the non foodies in the audience, count me as one really measure about these restaurants. What's the criteria for the honors. Speaker 2: 00:50 The truth is that the whole process of the Michelin inspection processes has always been shrouded in secrecy. So they're very careful to not divulge a lot of the details about how they do what they do, but there are five categories that the inspectors judge, when they go out and they check out restaurants. First one is flavor. Second is technique. Third is the distinctiveness of the chef and their cuisine. What makes them stand out from others? Uh, the value for the money and the consistency of their food and consistency is probably the most important because they don't want to put a restaurant in their guide to recommend to the people who purchase the guide. And then that restaurant does not keep up with its consistency. Speaker 1: 01:32 Well, besides earning up to three stars, what are other designations? A restaurant can earn. Speaker 2: 01:38 The first designation is the plate, the Michelin plate, which is for restaurants that serve very good food. That's all they say about it. So that's kind of vague, but it does. It does sort of play into those five original factors for consideration and the plate honors. It, it marks a restaurant sort of entry into the Michelin system. Um, these restaurants can be elevated at any time to other award award tiers. Um, the other two are the Michelin bib gourmand which honors restaurants that serve great food at reasonable prices. And then the, the coveted Michelin star, which recognizes restaurants that achieve the highest standard of excellence in all five of those categories. Speaker 1: 02:18 Okay. So, so far this year, in fact, just recently, Michelin has announced that it's added five San Diego restaurants to it's 2021, all California guide in the plate category. So which restaurants are those? Speaker 2: 02:32 Yes, that's right. Uh, it was just last week that they announced these five restaurants, which joined 29 existing plate restaurants. And the five new ones are animate in downtown San Diego, Cali and east village, Fort Oak in mission Hills, little Frenchie in Coronado and menu ultra, which is a ramen shop with three locations in San Diego. Speaker 1: 02:55 And does Michelin give descriptions about why they chose these restaurants? Yes. Speaker 2: 03:00 It gave a couple sentences of information when they announced the award, uh, for Anna Mae, the inspectors said that he had served very inventive Asian fusion cuisine, particularly its coal-fired octopus, skewer and glazed black Cod, as well as praising. The restaurant's really ultra glamorous luxurious interior design Kelly, which just opened in June, uh, was praised for the marriage of Southern California and Baja seafood and pro to produce and proteins with sunny Mediterranean cuisine. And they said that, uh, chef Travis Wicker, his vegetable dishes and seafoods were the stars that stole the show Fort Oak, which is one of several restaurants owned by, um, trust restaurant group, founder, and chef Brad wise was recognized for his, his, uh, wood-fired cooking technique and his uncomplicated approach to dishes like French style halibut and, uh, chicken fried quail with red-eyed gravy, a little Frenchie, uh, which I opened in 2019, um, was praised or just the beauty of its interior, where you walk in and there's baguettes. Speaker 2: 04:05 And there's silver buckets filled with bottles of wine and an array of French cheeses. And it also praised, um, uh, chef Matt ceramics, uh, traditional approach to French cuisine, sort of the favorites, the favorite dishes that everyone knows of from French food and the last one menu ultra, as I mentioned, it's a, it's a ramen shop. It's a casual ramen shop, but they take the ramen very seriously. It's a Japanese, uh, chain, uh, that made its first entry into the us a couple of years ago in San Diego. So San Diego was the first place that manual ultra opened stores. And it's, it's known for its very limited menu, but very good quality, um, noodles and broths, particularly it's pork tonkotsu broth, which has [inaudible] in it. And we're Speaker 1: 04:51 Expecting them, maybe a few San Diego restaurants will be admitted into the bib gourmand category tomorrow. And my question is how does an eatery get into that? Speaker 2: 05:01 Well, once again, uh, it that's all very secretive. Um, but it is again, the difference between, uh, say a bib Armand and a Michelin star is that they are both serving very good food. It's just that, uh, [inaudible] are usually a little bit more affordable. Um, so, uh, at this point we already have seven local restaurants that have been, or Mons Solaray Cocina, Sorella Lola 55 Kutner exchange Juniper and Ivy Cucina, Urbana and campfire. Speaker 1: 05:30 And only one of our restaurants has a star. Is that right? Speaker 2: 05:33 That's right. And that's Addison restaurant. That's the 15 year old restaurant in Carmel valley that, um, has, uh, has won all kinds of national honors and acclaim. The chef director, William Bradley was mentored by seven star Michelin chef Thomas Keller. And it's, it's kind of in a class, all of its own. Speaker 1: 05:49 No, it's amazing that many restaurants have managed to keep up their quality. After more than a year of shutdowns, there has been supply chain and staffing problems is the local restaurant business coming back. Yeah. Speaker 2: 06:05 I have to qualify that by saying a lot of restaurants did not survive the pandemic. Um, you know, many Michelin star restaurants closed permanently over the past 18 months. But I have heard from restaurant operators that since the state lifted its stay-at-home order, the restaurants are doing a bang up business. Um, William Bradley at Addison told me he's never been busier than he's been since June 15th. So I think that if the restaurants were able to survive the pandemic they're doing quite well right now. And when Speaker 1: 06:35 We actually get the new Michelin 20 21, 1 1 should that whole magazine comes out. Speaker 2: 06:42 Well, I, I don't know the actual publication date for the guides themselves. I'm assuming that they are coming out. As soon as these announcements are being made. The bib gourmands, as we mentioned will be announced tomorrow at 9:00 AM. I'll have a story on our website at 9:00 AM tomorrow with the new big gourmand announcements. And then next Tuesday, September 28th, uh, the new San Diego area and Michelin stars will be announced. And again, I'll have a story on our website that morning at 9:00 AM. And Speaker 1: 07:08 What's the impact on a restaurant when they're men mentioned in the Michelin guide, Speaker 2: 07:13 I've heard from restaurants that it's, it's a tremendous impact. What it does is people write about these restaurants. There is something called a Michelin tourist. People will travel from all over the world and they will bring the Michelin guide. The Michelin guide is, is published. It's the company's based in France. And there's a lot of European travelers who will travel to eat at Michelin starred restaurants. William Bradley said it was just a phenomenal change in his business Nightingale after he got his Michelin star a few years ago, but the BIM gourmand and the plate honorees also get attention. And so they also appreciate the bump in business that they get, Speaker 1: 07:50 Keep our eye out and see what other San Diego restaurants might be honored. And I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune, reporter Pam, Craig, and Pam. Thank you. Thank you, Maureen. Speaker 2: 07:59 Great to speak with you. Speaker 3: 08:12 [inaudible].