After this taking a break After the French tire company Michelin awarded its coveted (and sometimes disgruntled) stars and recommendations last year because of the pandemic, it is time to recommend and award restaurants again. Starting next week, Michelin announced a “Still on dutyVirtual series that unveiled Instagram awards and restaurant guides for 2021 to Washington DC, Chicago and New York over the next three weeks. Michelin also plans to launch a California guidebook later this year.
Gwendal Poullennec, the guides international director, said that that most reviews were based on the inspectors’ previous experiences at the restaurants before things like indoor eating restrictions and other COVID-19 changes were introduced. The Times It also notes that “fewer than 100 of the restaurants Michelin may have taken have closed permanently”, likely because Michelin typically focuses on fine dining restaurants with a stronger financial lifeline. According to the National Restaurant Association110,000 restaurants across the country, around 17 percent in total, have closed temporarily or permanently.
While the guide for 2021 would normally have been released last fall, Michelin was waiting for restaurants to have more time to reopen. “If anything, we have been benevolent about the choices,” said Poullennec. “We were impressed with your incredible performance during the crisis.” According to reports, the inspectors did not rate the take-away food and instead ate at the restaurants when it was available, which presumably meant that restaurants without personal food were not considered. The chief inspector for North America also announced this Chicago Tribune that the general criteria have remained the same;
Michelin awards stars, its slightly cheaper Bib Gourmand Picks, “plates”, special prices and – for the first time in the USA – green stars to restaurants that meet certain sustainability standards. Poullennec hopes the guide will serve to highlight restaurants that are still operating and to support the industry. However, some have argued that it would only hurt to force restaurants to endure criticism and the award selection process during the pandemic, as most restaurants are not operating at their preferred level. For example, the James Beard Foundation has canceled its cooking and restaurant awards, saying, “Awarding awards will do little to advance the industry in its current tough battle.”
The Washington DC Bib Gourmand Picks will be released through April 20th. The selection of the stars follows two days later. Announcements in Chicago and New York will follow in the following weeks. And what the starry landscape might look like, anything is possible. Michelin recently awarded Behind a star, which was only open for 20 days in the summer. As James Hansen put it at Eater London“It is extremely, extremely unusual, to say the least, to award a star so quickly, and even more unusual to do so on multiple inspections in such a short amount of time.”
Get ready for a drama!