San Francisco Residents Shocked As Chez Panisse Overlooked For Michelin Star

Posted by on Oct 27

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Yesterday, the city of San Francisco received its annual dining guide from the Michelin Guide, a highly-respected culinary source and the origin of the "Michelin Star" rating.

But residents of the Berkeley area were shocked to learn that one of their favorite restaurants did not make it onto this year's Michelin list: Chez Panisse, owned and operated by slow-food movement guru Alice Waters. The restaurant had previously been the proud owner of one Michelin star ever since 2006.

To achieve any star rating, Michelin states that restaurants must "serve cuisine that is prepared from excellent quality ingredients, display impressive technical skill, and present a balanced menu of clear flavors with a distinct personality; and it is imperative that they do so consistently. In addition to the menu and cuisine, we also scrutinize the beverage program asking ourselves if the wine, cocktail, and/or sake selection enhances the experience and moreover offers something special."

One star from Michelin means "A very good restaurant in its own category." Two stars awards a restaurant with "Excellent cooking, worth a detour." And the extremely-rare three star rating deems a restaurant "Exceptional, worth a special journey.One always eats extremely well here, sometimes superbly."

Now that Chez Panisse's star status has been removed, what's next for Waters?  Will the lack of esteemed status affect business or customer perception? She thinks not. Here is the official statement issued by Chez Panisse execs in response to Michelin's decision:

"When Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse almost 40 years ago, she intended to create a place where people could come together with friends and family to eat a delicious, thoughtfully prepared meal in beautiful surroundings. To this day, that is the restaurant’s highest priority. Although Ms. Waters respects the traditions upon which the Michelin Guide bases its awards, she acknowledges that they aren’t the same traditions upon which Chez Panisse has built its reputation and success over the years."

Sources:  NBC News Bay Area

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