The nation's capital is also one of its fastest-growing food scenes, and soon Washington D.C.'s chefs and restaurants will have the opportunity to earn accolades from the world's most prominent international judge of culinary prowess, the Michelin Guide. The Washington Post has the story.
Michelin announced this that D.C.'s first Guide will go on sale October 13th, allowing the area's top chefs—including Jose Andres and Aaron Silverman—the chance to earn their stars. Washington will follow in the steps of New York, San Francisco, and Chicago to become the fourth American city to be the subject of a current Michelin Guide. Previously, guides for Los Angeles and Las Vegas were released, but both ceased publication in 2010.
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The tire manufacturer's travel and eating guides were originally introduced in 1900 as a way to encourage road trips, and the star system was put in place in 1926. Currently, the guide covers 27 countries, but there are only nine city-specific guides, including Paris, London, and Tokyo. Now, D.C. will join the short list.
"D.C. was the logical choice. It's a very cosmopolitan city. It has a growing and thriving food scene," Michael Ellis, international director for the Michelin Guides, tells the Post. Ellis and his team at Michelin also took into consideration the city's diversity of cuisines and international stature when making their decision.
The Guide's troop of anonymous inspectors have already set upon the city to rate and review D.C.'s eateries for the chance to become a one-, two- or three-star establishment—or to come one of the Bib Gourmands, a list of affordable restaurants that don't receive stars but are recommended nonetheless. The notorious stars are granted according to a combination of factors, including ingredient quality, personality, creativity, value and consistency.
Area restaurateurs are hoping the introduction of their very own Michelin Guide will drive more culinary business to the city. "I think it puts us on the map. The worldwide name recognition, I think it helps the city," says restaurateur Ashok Bajaj, who owns Rasika and the Oval Room, among other Washington establishments.
The Guide's arrival will also no doubt strike fear into the kitchens of area chefs, who will have to be on their A-game in case they're paid a visit by one of the mysterious critics, who are "kind of like undercover agents," as Ellis puts it.
However, this panic is worth it to those who have made long hoped to earn Michelin stars throughout their career, "something that a lot of people think about and dream about," says Rose's Luxury chef Aaron Silverman; "It's the beginning of big things for Washington, D.C."