March 5, 2019 – Michelin Guide inspectors have been secretly visiting Monterey County restaurants for the past year in preparation for a new guidebook due out this summer, which goes beyond San Francisco to include six other areas of California. “We’re just thrilled, we’re over the moon,” says Rob O’Keefe, marketing director of the Monterey County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “While it will be very good for restaurants that make it into the book, it will also put Monterey County on the culinary map for discerning travelers.”
The new California guidebook was announced today at a joint news conference with Michelin and Visit California in Sacramento, attended by MCCVB CEO Tammy Blount-Canavan. New areas covered in the Michelin California guide include Monterey, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. San Francisco and the Wine Country have been included in Michelin Guides for years.
“Michelin is very good at keeping secrets, but since they were working with Visit California on this, we’ve known that inspectors have been taking a look at our area for the past year or so,” says O’Keefe, adding that he doesn’t know whether they are finished yet.
“This is an enormous opportunity to promote Monterey County for culinary tourism and we know that people will pay to pursue their culinary passions,” he adds.
Asked whether he knows if any restaurants in our area will be honored with Michelin stars, O’Keefe says: “I’m keeping both fingers crossed!”
Expansion of Michelin’s guidebook to include more of California recognizes the state’s unique blend of laid-back sophistication and its leading role as a culinary powerhouse, a combination that attracts travelers from around the world seeking the tastes and experiences of relaxed luxury—according to the Michelin news release.
“With access to many of the world’s best farms, food producers and vineyards, California cuisine is respected worldwide not only for the quality of its ingredients but also due to the creativity displayed by its chefs,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director for the Michelin Guides. “Our inspectors have been impressed with the talent and innovation within the gastronomic community across the state.”
Inclusion in the Michelin guide should be a boon to Monterey area restaurants and allied businesses like local farms, fishermen, wineries and breweries, as well as the destination as a whole. “Whoever shows up in the guide, our job will be to leverage that attention for everyone and spread the love,” O’Keefe says. “After all, people who come for culinary travel eat at more than one place and like to sample all different types of food and drink.”
Deborah Luhrman is publisher and editor of Edible Monterey Bay. A lifelong journalist, she has reported from around the globe, but now prefers covering our flourishing local food scene and growing her own vegetables in the Santa Cruz Mountains.