Michelin Guide Pauses Announcement of 2020 California Stars

Restaurant guide says COVID-19 and wildfires forced decision

By Kerry Slater

The Michelin Guide has paused the announcement of Stars, Bib Gourmands and Plates from the 2020 California selection. While no Pacific Palisades restaurants earned a star in 2019, several Westside restaurants did so.

According to Michelin, the decision was determined after speaking with chefs and listening to feedback from restaurants severely impacted by COVID-19 and wildfires across California.

“We know the restaurant industry still faces enormous challenges in getting back on its feet,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides. “We are confident this will occur, as soon as health and safety protocols allow. Diners won’t lose their desire for great food; in fact, the importance of a shared meal has never been so present in our minds as it is at this time.”

This decision reverses an announcement made in August where Michelin stated that it would proceed with giving out Stars, Bib Gourmands and Plates based on information from critic visits that occurred before dining rooms to closed in mid-March due to COVID-19.

The guide functions off a rating system of one, two or three stars, with only the most prestigious of restaurants achieving the coveted three-star rating. The Michelin guide was first published in 1900 by the tire company as a way to get European travelers to drive and visit their local restaurants. It has turned into a well-known guide book with even a one-star rating being considered a huge accomplishment.

While no Pacific Palisades restaurants earned a star in 2019, several Westside restaurants did so.

Restaurants to earn Michelin’s recommendations on the Westside include Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, n/naka in Culver City, Mori Sushi on Pico Boulevard and Shunji Japanese Cuisine in West LA.

Several of the prominent 2019 California eateries are now permanently close or face an uncertain future due to COVID-19. On the Westside, this includes Travis Lett’s MTN on Abbot Kinney, which closed permanently in June of this year and earned a 2019 Michelin recommendation. In addition, Michael’s on Third Street in Santa Monica, which garnered a recommendation last year, was subject of a recent Los Angeles Magazine article titled “Michael’s, the Launching Pad for California Cuisine, Faces an Uncertain Future”

Michelin will instead host an online gathering of support for California restaurants through a “Virtual Family Meal” on Oct. 27, 2020, at 4 p.m. PST. Reserve virtual seats at guide.michelinman.com.

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