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Photograph: Stephanie BreijoL.A.'s Hayato, a 2019 Michelin star awardee

There will be no Michelin stars awarded in California this year

The international restaurant guide announced a “pause” on awards throughout the state.

By
Stephanie Breijo
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After a decade away, the international restaurant-rating Michelin Guide finally returned to Los Angeles through a new statewide collection of star awards in 2019.

But 2020’s economic hardships and natural disasters have financially—and in some cases physically—destroyed restaurants, so today, given the pandemic, wildfires and the historic devastation suffered by the service industry, Michelin announced it would not proceed with its California ratings despite a summer declaration that it initially would.

“We know the restaurant industry still faces enormous challenges in getting back on its feet,” international director Gwendal Poullennec said in a news release. “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.”

Not only will Michelin “pause” doling out its signature, highly coveted stars, but the guides will also hold off on awarding Bib Gourmands, bestowed upon stellar budget-friendly restaurants, as well as its Plate nods, which denote “very good” spots that fall just short of a star or Bib Gourmand rating. A number of countries and cities have already been awarded their 2020 accolades, including Denmark, France, England and Sweden.

In lieu of any 2020 awards for the Golden State, Michelin’s throwing a virtual “family meal” event—named for that familial, industry-wide practice of enjoying a staff meal together—to be held on October 27 at 4pm.

During the new online event, which will be broadcast over Youtube, a few to-be-announced California chefs and other industry voices will discuss the year and its effect on restaurants, while a few of Michelin’s inspectors will share some of their California discoveries encountered while dining for this year’s planned awards. 

The guides will also use the event to unveil a new Michelin category, one devoted to sustainability practices.

In both an attempt to drum up excitement for California’s next round of awards (whenever they may be) and a move to help fight food scarcity in the state, the guides just announced a fundraising sweepstakes: The winner will receive a trip to California’s 2021 awards and a meal for two at one of the starred restaurants. The first entry is free, but an optional raffle-like buy-in provides extra chances to win—and all proceeds will benefit the California Association of Food Banks

See Poullennec’s full announcement, below:

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