The famed dining guide will be awarding its starts to DC establishments based on pandemic-era dining.
After taking a break from awarding its much-desired stars and recommendations because of the COVID pandemic, the Michelin Guide says it’s back on track to start issuing new awards to restaurants once more. Starting next week with Washington DC, the famous French guide will start releasing a new virtual series titled “Still Serving” to reveal awards and its 2021 dining guides to DC, Chicago and New York.
While Michelin usually releases its guides in the fall, the international director for the organization’s culinary guides, Gwendal Poullennec told the New York Times that Michelin had chosen to delay publication so as to allow more restaurants more time to adapt to the public health crisis and give inspectors more time to visit them.
“If anything we were benevolent as to the selections,” he said of the restaurants. “We were impressed with their incredible achievement throughout the crisis. Some of them went above and beyond the standards we usually expect. That’s a positive trend right now.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced restaurants to reinvent themselves causing many to change their strategies, avoid on-site dining or even close altogether. Michelin seems to have taken the circumstances into consideration. In another interview with the Washington Post, Michelin’s anonymous chief inspector for North said that inspectors dined on-site at restaurants with measures familiar to anyone who has visited a restaurant recently: masks, plexiglass dividers, and patio seating. However, the question remains whether the organization will consider taking away any stars from those restaurants that have struggled to operate extremely difficult conditions or if inspectors have also considered establishments that have been avoiding on-site dining altogether.
In DC, Michelin will announce the restaurants receiving stars on Thursday, April 22. Bib Gourmand winners –typically more casual restaurants that represent outstanding value — will be named on Tuesday, April 20. The DC guide will be followed by the Chicago one on Thursday, April 29 and the New York one on Thursday, May 6.
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