The Michelin Guide has launched its long-awaited Los Angeles edition, giving foodies an introduction to the best fare in the city and putting stars in the eyes of some of the best chefs in town.
The party to celebrate the launch was held at the trendy Les Deux Cafe in Hollywood, where the local cognoscenti of food and drink were gathered to welcome the unveiling of their very own little red book.
The Director of les Guides Michelin, Jean-Luc Naret, was on hand to personally announce the launch. Waiters, in smart white jackets blazoned on the sleeve with three of the pneumatically-rounded florets that signify a Michelin star, carried silver platters stacked with numbered copies of the newly-minted books.
For those unfamiliar with the Michelin restaurant guides, it will come as a surprise to learn that not all the restaurants are rated with regard to the food served. By being included in the guide at all, a restaurant is deemed to deliver dishes worthy of the price. That is a given. The guides do rate restaurants on comfort and ambiance, as well as on price. But very few have stars. Out of an estimated 15,000 restaurants in the area, just over 300 made it into the guide. And out of those 300+ restaurants, only 15 received a coveted Michelin star, and a mere 3 restaurants in all received two stars. No restaurant in the area warranted three stars in the opinion of the Michelin inspectors.
Though LA is the home of the movies, no restaurant or chef would trade a Michelin star for an Oscar. The bestowing, or the removing, of a star is considered a serious matter in the food world, and when either occurs, the head of the Michelin Guides calls the chef to deliver the verdict to him or her personally. It would not do in matters of such import to have it found out from the press or by reading it in the book after publication. So, when the Saddle Peak Lodge in Malibu was about to be awarded a star, its young chef, Steven Rojas, was called from France and told of it first, before anyone else outside Michelin knew.
At the party, the minute the books were handed out, people started looking though them to see who was in it and what was said. The size and feel of the books make it extremely satisfying to hold and peruse. The cover is thicker than the average paperback and has a satin gloss finish that feels cool and serious in your hand. The bright red cover is the same red found in the decor of eateries all over the world, a red psychologists have discovered stimulates the appetite. The name Michelin on the cover promises that, in Los Angeles, satisfaction is sure to follow.
Los Angeles 2008