Unfortunately, Michelin will not be coming with a California guide this year because of the restaurant industry’s struggle this year. COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for the inspectors to award the stars to the restaurants. However, Michelin North America presented twenty-five discoveries made by the inspectors before the pandemic hit. So, no stars this year but only a virtual gala that honored sustainability in the industry.
The names were announced on 27th October 2020 at an event which is called Virtual Family Meal. It was organized to raise funds for the California Association of Food Banks. Michelin’s Director of Food and Travel, Nora Bass, said that they worked closely with the chefs in various restaurants to get their inputs and make sure that the industry is going towards the path of improvement and satisfying customer needs.
All the inspections were done before the pandemic began, but Michelin and James Beard Foundation decided not to present any awards this year. Ultimately there were no stars, no Plate recognitions, no Bib Gourmand, but there were “25 discoveries,” said the Chief Inspector, who is unnamed like all his colleagues.
Considering the hard work and dedication of the industry’s people, it only seemed fair to respect their input and give them some sort of recognition. An unnamed inspector said in the event that there would be no stars, but there will be a cross-section of the restaurants that were of interest and showed high potential. Hence, for the first time in the US’s history, green stars of sustainability were awarded. The California recipients were Nancy Silverton, Michael Tusk, Thomas Keller, Alice Waters, Matthew Kammerer, Dominique Crenn, and Kyle and Katrina Connaughton.
All the Michelin Inspectors work anonymously. Out of 25 discoveries, the Chief inspector of North America personally mentioned five San Diego County honorees. Inspector said that Michelin took a deeper dive into Sand Diego to determine what’s being offered and what is really interesting for the next book. The five restaurants he mentioned are-
Chef Priscilla Curiel opened the restaurant in 2017, and the bone marrow tacos took the restaurant on a rollercoaster towards popularity. The inspector said that you could find taco shops everywhere in California, but such a unique taco helped Tuetano to stay on top.
2. Morning Glory
A brunch spot where breakfast is served all day and a breakfast so good that you wouldn’t choose anything else over it to eat. Inspector said that the restaurant is full of creativity and a varied menu, making it worthy of recognition.
3. Dija Mara
Rob Jones and Simran Soin opened this Balinese restaurant in 2017. The restaurant became popular immediately due to its all-natural wine offer and serving only brunch and dinner. Inspector said that the Balinese theme pulled the attraction, and it is a restaurant which needs to be recognized
4. Sushi Tadokoro
Sushi Todiroko is in the business for a while now, and it has developed a pretty impressive reputation for itself. Takeaki Tadokoro opened the traditional Japanese style restaurant in 2012. The chief inspector said that the quality of food is the topmost priority of the restaurant, and the chef’s top notch skills are worth recognition.
5. Soichi Suchi
Soichi Kadoya honed his skills at Suchi Tadakoro, and after spending five years there, Soichi opened a separate restaurant. The chief inspector said that the skills of both the chefs are of an extremely high level.
It is for the better that Michelin is awarding these green stars. Still, these green stars are nothing like the traditional stars, and Michelin has promised that they will be back as soon as possible, and they will come back with their selection once California starts to recover from the pandemic. You can see the complete list of discoveries here.