LA Ignored by Michelin- Is it a Bad Thing?

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LA Michelin Guide 09
LA Michelin Guide 09 (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

When Michelin announced the publication of its 2011 American guides, one city’s book was a glaring omission.  Yep, that would be our city, Los Angeles.  Many people were aflutter, others not so much.

I was just interviewed by writer Mike Steinberger about Michelin’s decision not to publish an LA guide for 2011.  It made me think.  What is it about our town and Michelin that seemed to be and oil-water relationship?

Jean Luc Naret,  editor of the previous LA Edition basically called us out as a bunch of superficial ninnies who only care about where we’re sitting and who shares the dining room with us.  Is that true?  Are we that frivolous?  I would say that we are not.

There are certainly a number of our restaurants that cater to that kind of clientele.  Ironically, they are some of the best restaurants in the city.

But that isn’t where LA excels, we are a city of eaters who love to find and eat good food.  Often the food drives the restaurant rather than the desire of the owners to created a temple of “fine cuisine” which involves quite a lot more than what’s on the plate.  It involves what kind of plate is hosting those ingredients.  And the chair, light fixtures and floor covering.  All of which counts for a lot in Michelin Guides.  I think that’s kind of superficial.

We’re a casual city, with a casual ethos.  People attend the opera in sneakers and jeans.  While lots of people say we’re preoccupied with the superficial, I think when it comes to the food, we’re becoming more a let’s cut the BS and get straight to the heart of good eating without lots of trappings, while the Michelin Guide often seems preoccupied with trappings.

So what do you think?