Michelin Picks Chicago for Next Restaurant Guide

Look out for the Michelin Man.
Look out for the Michelin Man.

Chicago will soon have its own Michelin Restaurant Guide. The anonymous restaurant guide started in France, but has moved on to other large cities in 23 different countries. Though we’ll undoubtedly spend our time squabbling about the results, the fact that it is coming to Chicago at all is a big deal. We’ll join San Francisco and New York as the only American cities covered under the prestigious guide. So how many stars can Alinea possibly get, will L2O get the credit it deserves, and will Rick Bayless clean up like he did with the Zagat list? We won’t have to wait that long. According to the press release, Michelin agents have been working undercover for over two years conducting, “anonymous inspections,” in our city. The guide should be released by mid-November. Check out the whole release below.

CHICAGO, July 13 /PRNewswire/ – Michelin will expand its exclusive restaurant and hotel guide series in North America to include Chicago. The MICHELIN guide Chicago 2011, the first-ever MICHELIN guide for a Midwestern city, will be published in November 2010. The announcement was made today by Jean-Luc Naret, worldwide director of the MICHELIN guide.

The MICHELIN guide, whose rating system is internationally recognized as the height of culinary success, is already published in 25 editions covering 23 countries, and additionally includes North America guides to New York City, which was introduced in November 2005, and San Francisco, launched the year after. The MICHELIN guide also recently launched titles in Asia, including two guides in Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto & Osaka) and Hong Kong & Macao.

The guide will provide a selection and rating, in all categories of comfort and prices, in a reader-friendly layout made especially for the American market and which reflects the region’s distinctive culinary and hotel landscape.

“The diversity, breadth and depth of Chicago’s restaurant and hotel scene, coupled with its rich gastronomic history, clearly mark the city and surrounding areas as the logical choice for the next North American title in the MICHELIN guide series,” commented Naret. “As with our recently updated guides to New York City and San Francisco, we are making every effort to produce a comprehensive selection that does full justice to the region’s exciting restaurant and hotel culture and also meets our readers’ expectations.”

During the announcement, Naret described Chicago as unique among American cities, citing its reputation as a world-class tourism destination and stressing the importance of its treasured culinary traditions.
Michelin is using the occasion of the new MICHELIN guide Chicago 2011 to highlight the company’s entire line of travel and lifestyle products. This business category encompasses Michelin’s full collection of travel guides, maps, online travel resources, automotive accessories and footwear designed to strengthen consumer engagement with the Michelin brand on a more frequent basis. These products create nearly half a billion touch points annually and enrich the equity of the brand. According to Parmeet Grover, worldwide head of strategic marketing for Michelin’s travel and lifestyle divisions, these products deliver the same Michelin promise of quality and consistency that consumers expect from one of the world’s most trusted brands. Michelin is the only tire manufacturer with this unique lifestyle offering.

The MICHELIN guide, and its expansion into Chicago, provides a key example of Michelin Travel & Lifestyle’ s goal to enhance the enjoyment of travel in support of the company’s better mobility mission.

“We are eagerly anticipating the MICHELIN guide’s entry into this wonderful city known for its cuisine, culture, beauty and innovative spirit,” said Naret.

As part of their meticulous and highly confidential evaluation process, Michelin inspectors - both European and American - are currently conducting anonymous inspections to Chicago restaurants and hotels. They’ve been in Chicago for two years. As with all MICHELIN guide inspections, the process involves test meals or overnight stays at each establishment, in order to assess the level and the consistency of the establishment. And as for all the other guides and all the other countries, the inspectors pay all their bills in restaurants and hotels.

“The Michelin inspectors are the eyes and ears of the customers, and thus the anonymity of our inspectors is key to ensure they are treated the same as any guest would be treated,” commented Naret.

Restaurants and hotels selected for inclusion in the Guide will be listed by neighborhood and also cross-referenced by category.

The MICHELIN guide offers a broad selection of hotels and restaurants in each price and comfort category, taking into account the local environment. This rating is unique and consistent across all countries covered by the MICHELIN guide. It is expressed in two ways:

* A comfort rating: levels of comfort are rated using one to five forks and spoons for restaurants and one to five pavilions for hotels. Those symbols only judge the comfort of the establishment. They are: the furnishings of the establishment, the service, the cleanliness and upkeep of the surroundings. Red forks and spoons or red pavilions are for especially pleasant establishments.
* Special distinctions for certain establishments: these include stars for the very best restaurants. The stars judge only “what’s on the plate,” meaning the quality of products, the mastering of flavors, the mastering of cooking, the “personality” of the cuisine, the value for money and the consistency of what it offers to its customers both throughout the menu and the year.

While every restaurant in the guide is a recommendation from Michelin, certain restaurants deserve to be brought to the reader’s attention for the fine quality of their cooking. These establishments are identified by Michelin stars, which are awarded for the standard of meals served.

A general listing in the guide indicates “a quality restaurant that stands out from others” in the same category of comfort, definitely worth trying.

The star ratings are as follows:

* One star indicates “a very good restaurant in its category,” a place offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard.
* Two stars denote “excellent cooking, worth a detour,” skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality.
* Three stars reward “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.” One always eats extremely well here, often superbly. Distinctive dishes are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients.

A restaurant that receives one or more stars is not only one of the best in its country but also one of the best in the world.

The decision to award a star is a collective one, based on the consensus of all inspectors who have visited a particular establishment. A written description of each establishment and a variety of other symbols will give readers further insight into an establishment’s ambiance, type of cuisine and specialties, and wine list, customized to American tastes and needs.

Michelin’s founders, Andre and Edouard Michelin, first impacted the transportation world, and consequently the travel world, when their innovative ideas led to the first pneumatic automobile tires. Since this breakthrough in travel technology, the Michelin Group has been dedicated to providing unbiased, accurate, clear and easy-to-understand information for the traveling customer. The MICHELIN guide, first published in 1900, was created to provide motorists with practical information about where they could service and repair their cars and find quality accommodations or a good meal. The guide was provided free of charge until 1920, and the “star system” for outstanding restaurants was introduced in 1926, with the two- and three-star categories introduced in the early 1930s, clearly positioning Michelin as the most respected arbiter of fine dining. With its unparalleled commitment to quality, Michelin publishes close to 10 million maps, atlases, travel guides and hotel and restaurant guides in more than 90 countries worldwide every year.

For more than a century, the MICHELIN guide collection has made traveling easier by providing a selection of the best restaurants, hotels and guesthouses throughout the world. Today, the 25 guides in the collection cover 23 countries on three continents and include more than 45,000 addresses around the world.

The MICHELIN guide Chicago 2011 will complement the existing catalog of Michelin maps and guides to the North American market, including the recently updated guides to New York City and San Francisco. It’s the 26th guide of the collection. The guide will be available in November 2010 at bookstores, boutiques and other participating retailers, including online retailers.

Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America ( employs 20,900 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations.
Michelin Picks Chicago for Next Restaurant Guide