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Michelin releases 2013 guide to San Francisco

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Michelin San Francisco, the Bay Area and Wine Country 2013Two restaurants in California have retained their three-star-status in the latest Michelin guide to San Francisco, Bay Area and Wine Countries.

Thomas Keller's French Laundry and the Restaurant at Meadowood, both in Napa Valley, have each held on to Michelin's top accolade. Keller now holds a total of seven Michelin stars, including the one-star Bouchon in Yountville and three-star Per Se in New York.

On his Twitter account, Keller said: "Congratulations to the teams at the French Laundry and Bouchon for receiving three stars and one star, respectively - and thank you to Michelin."

Meanwhile Atelier Crenn in San Francisco was the only restaurant promoted to two stars, bringing the total of two-Michelin-starred establishments in northern California to six, including Baumé, Benu, Coi, Manresa and Saison.

Three restaurants celebrated their first star: All Spice, SPQR and Keiko à Nob Hill. This means there are now 34 starred restaurants in the area comprising San Francisco, the East Bay, Wine Country, Marin, South Bay and the Peninsula.

Overall the 2013 Michelin guide to San Francisco, Bat Area and Wine Countries lists 539 restaurants, 42 with stars and 70 with the Bib Gourmand award, and features 47 different types of cuisine.

The San Francisco guide, published today, is one of three Michelin guides in the USA, including New York and Chicago, which will be released on 13 November.

Michelin awards new stars in California

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Michelin San Francisco, the Bay Area and Wine CountryThomas Keller's French Laundry and the Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley in northern California have remained the only restaurants to hold three stars in the Michelin guide to San Francisco, the Bay Area and Wine Country.

The 2012 edition of the famous guide has awarded two establishments in San Francisco their second stars: Asian restaurant Benu and the American eatery Saison, as well as modern French restaurant Baumé in South Bay. The Californian guide now features six two-star restaurants including David Kinch's Manresa in Los Gatos in the Santa Cruz mountains, Daniel Patterson's Coi in San Francisco, and Cyrus in Sonoma.

Meanwhile, 20 restaurants celebrated their first Michelin star, bringing the total of one-star establishments in the guide to 39.

Now in its sixth edition, the Michelin guide to San Francisco, Bay Area and Wine Country, which was released yesterday (25 October), identified 77 restaurants as Bib Gourmands (19 new) - offering two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for less than $40 (£25).

It is one of three US guides, including New York, which recently awarded two new three- and two new two-stars, as well as Chicago, which will be released next month.

Earlier this month, San Francisco began discussing implementing a mandatory 25% service charge.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for What the Critics SayHoused inside department store Harrods, Thomas Keller's French Laundry pop-up restaurant may be a far-cry from the rustic original in sleepy Yountville, California, but food is sublime, says Fay Maschler.

The three-Michelin-starred US chef is running the pop-up restaurant for ten days, serving a nine-course tasting menu including some of his most iconic dishes such as salmon cornet and oysters and pearls.

"No ingredient is repeated within the lengthy parade of tastes," says Maschler, food critic for the London Evening Standard. "Some are sublime, such as the Salad of Hawaiian Hearts of Peach Palm, which includes imported radishes surely showing the biggest carbon footprint for an eentsy vegetable ever recorded."

Meanwhile, fellow US chef Wolfgang Puck's first European venture, Cut at 45 Park Lane, a meat aficionado's heaven but the Sunday Telegraph's Zoe Williams find its slick interiors, macho clientele and full-fat menu a bit rich.

The Sunday Times' AA Gill enjoys the food at Nopi, Yotam Ottolenghi's first restaurant proper in Soho, but says the quality of the food can't justify the inflated prices.

Equally the enormous mark -up on the wine leaves a sour taste in the Independent's Amol Rajan's mouth at Galoupet, while The Observer's Jay Rayner's meal at Bistro du Vin is notable for all the things that are wrong, not for all the things that are right.

Finally, riting in the Daily Telegraph, Matthew Norman is impressed by the high-end service and chef James Sommerin's complex but unfussy cooking at the Crown at Whitebrook, Monmouthshire.

Thumbnail image for Thomas KellerIconic US chef Thomas Keller has confirmed the 1 October opening of his French Laundry pop-up restaurant at London department store Harrods.

The chef-patron of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Napa Valley, California, will run the pop-up for 10 days in an enclosed space in Harrods' fourth floor Georgian Restaurant. It will be Keller's first venture outside of the USA.

The 70-seat dining room will offer a nine-course tasting menu at lunch and dinner, priced £250 per person. The menu will include French Laundry classics such as oysters and pearls as well as some new dishes created especially for London. Booking lines will open on 1 September.

The kitchen will be headed up by Keller, who will bring 14 members of staff from the original French Laundry with him to run the restaurant.

Keller said he was "extremely excited" about the collaboration with Harrods. "It is for us a first in many ways. We have never ventured to open a restaurant outside of the US, but we realised early on that our philosophies mirrored each other's and we could not think of a better partner for this endeavour," he said.

"It is my hope that each and every one of our guests will leave with a wonderful memory of having experienced the French Laundry while staying close to home."

Paul Goodale, director of restaurants at Harrods, added: "The opportunity to enjoy the French Laundry at Harrods promises to be a truly unique and compelling experience for our diners. 

"Like Harrods, Thomas Keller enjoys a globally renowned reputation and our collaboration is set to be the pinnacle in a year that will witness a number of exciting new restaurant launches and rejuvenations here at Harrods."

Thumbnail image for Thomas KellerIconic US chef Thomas Keller yesterday became a chevalier (knight) in the French Legion of Honour, the highest decoration in France at a ceremony held at his restaurant Per Se in New York. I caught up with the multi-Michelin-starred chef

You are only the third American - and the first man - after Julia Child and Alice Waters - to be accepted into the French Legion of Honour. How do you feel?
It's a great honour to have the recognition from the French Government and a dream beyond anything I have ever had. I'm also very proud to be the first [American] man (laughs).

How did this come about?
You have to be nominated by someone and Daniel Boulud nominated me. I also had written support from chefs like Alice Waters and Jacques Pépin and [wine writer] Robert Parker. I also had to write a letter supporting my nomination, which then went to French president Nicolas Sarkozy who reviews and decides who is accepted into the Legion of Honour.

Tell us about the award ceremony.
Once you are notified you then get to decide where you want to have your ceremony and who you want to bestow the medal on you. Paul Bocuse was visiting the United States so I asked him to do it at my restaurant Per Se in New York. The French Ambassador to the USA was also there to speak for the French Government as was Pépin and Alain Ducasse had a message from the French Minister of Agriculture.

How much of an inspiration has Paul Bocuse been to you?
He has been a huge inspiration to so many chefs' careers, especially mine. He defines the modern chef and he brought the chef out of the kitchen everywhere around the world.

You're going to run a pop-up restaurant at London department store Harrods later this year. Tell us more.
At the moment we're still in discussions but if - and it's a big if - it goes ahead it will run for ten days in the fall. Harrods are sending some of their team over to the French Laundry to work with us this month so that they understand what we're about. There has to be a synergy between them and us.

Would you consider opening a permanent restaurant in London?
I've not really considered it so it's too early to say.

Thumbnail image for Thomas KellerIconic US chef Thomas Keller is to become a chevalier (knight) in the French Legion of Honour.

Keller, who is the only US chef to run two three-Michelin-starred restaurants (the French Laundry in California and Per Se in New York), is the first American man to have been deemed worthy of the title.

He joins an elite group of culinary French ambassadors to the USA: TV cook and author Julia Child and Alice Waters, chef patron of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California.

Keller was nominated by fellow three-Michelin-starred chef and friend Daniel Boulud, with written support by chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner and Paul Bocuse as well as wine writer Robert Parker.

Bocuse, a commodore (commander) of the Legion of Honour, will pin the rosette on his lapel at Per Se on 29 March, according to the LA Times.

The French Legion of Honour was first established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is the highest decoration in France. It is divided into five various degrees: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross).

Thumbnail image for Simon-Hulston-big.jpgSimon Hulstone, head chef at the Michelin-starred Elephant in Torquay, Devon, will today compete in the Bocuse d'Or, the most high profile international culinary competition held in Lyon, France.

Hulstone, who is representing the UK for the second time in the biennial contest, will be up against 23 other countries - each competing for the prestigious title and €20,000 (£16,700) in prize money.

Hulstone will be working today together with Team UK commis chef Jordan Bailey, sous chef at the Elephant, and a commis supplied by the competition's organisers, and looked on by team manager Nick Vadis, UK executive chef at Compass Group.

The team will work solidly for five-and-a-half hours preparing, cooking and serving to the international judging panel two silver flats, one based on Scottish seafood including monkfish, crab and langoustine and the other on Scottish lamb, each with three garnishes. The teams' two elaborate presentations must serve 14 people. No ingredients may be pre-cut, although teams are allowed to pre-peel garlic, portion oil, salt, flour and other ingredients, and bring stocks made in advance.

The judging panel will include high profile chefs such as Thomas Keller, representing the USA, Norwegian chef Gier Skeie, who won the Bocuse d'Or in 2009, and Academy of Culinary Arts president Brian Turner for the UK.

A group of more than 150 British supporters will be in the crowd at Lyon to cheer for Hulstone, who is hoping to finish in the top three at the Bocuse d'Or. He placed in fourth position and won best meat dish at the European final of the competition, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, last June.

View our picture gallery of the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon here.


Michelin San Fran 2011Michelin has released its 2011 guide to San Francisco, the Bay Area and Wine Country and has awarded Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley its top accolade of three stars.

Located in St Helena the Restaurant at Meadowood serves a modern fine dining menu overseen by chef Christopher Kostow. It joins Thomas Keller's French Laundry as the only other restaurant in the northern California guide with three Michelin stars.

Three restaurants have retained their two-star-status including David Kinch's Manresa in Los Gatos in the Santa Cruz mountains; Coi in San Francisco; and Cyrus in Sonoma. Meanwhile 11 restaurants celebrated their first Michelin star bringing the total of one-star establishments to 39.

Now in its fifth edition, the Michelin guide to San Francisco, Bay Area and Wine Country, which was released today (26 October), identified 74 restaurants as Bib Gourmands (29 new) - offering two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for less than $40 (£25).

Michelin director Jean-Luc Naret, who will step down at the end of the year, commented: "The Bay Area is a particularly fertile farming region. There is so much to choose from - we spend a full year studying this region to produce our guide and the effort is immensely satisfying. This is quite simply one of the finest culinary regions in the world."

Next to the San Francisco, Bay Area and Wine Country edition, Michelin will publish two guides in the USA for 2011 for New York and Chicago, which will be launched next month.

Michelin awards 10 new stars in New York

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MichelinMan2.jpgMichelin has awarded 10 restaurants in New York with new stars bringing the total of Michelin-starred establishments in the city to 57.

The 2011 Michelin guide to New York awarded six restaurants their first star including Marlon Abela's second A Voce restaurant in the city, which launched at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circus last autumn.

There are now 42 starred restaurants in New York offering 15 different types of cuisines ranging from Austrian to Thai, from Greek to Persian, from steakhouses to gastropubs.

Michelin promoted four restaurants in New York to two-star status including Japanese restaurant Kajitsu which serves "shojun" vegetarian dishes, prepared in the tradition of ancient Buddhist monasteries.

Other restaurants celebrating their second star were Chef Table at supermarket Brooklyn Fare; Italian seafood restaurant Marea, and Japanese eaterie Soto.

Gordon Ramsay's eponymous restaurant at the London hotel in Manhattan's Midtown retained its two stars, despite recent reports over unpaid supplier bills and food hygiene problems.

The number of restaurant's holding Michelin's top accolade of three stars remained unchanged at five: Daniel, Jean Georges, Per Se, Masa and Le Bernadin.

The 2011 Michelin guide to New York also identified 21 new restaurants as Bib Gourmands (offering two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for less than $40), bringing the total to 95. It also selected 127 restaurants offering a meal for less than $25.

A day at the French Laundry

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Thomas KellerIt's not often that you go to bed saying good night to the perfect day. But my day at the French Laundry was just that, perfect in every way.

As journalists we all have our icons - the one person who tops the list of people we want to interview. Thomas Keller has been on the top of my list for years and not only did I get to interview the legendary US chef at his flagship restaurant, I was invited into his kitchen and dining room alongside an equal culinary great, Michel Roux.

The reason for our visit to Napa Valley, California, was to catch up with Hrishikesh Desai, the 2009 Roux Scholar who chose to spend the three-month stage he won as part of his scholarship at the French Laundry. He is the first scholar, in the 27-year history of the competition, to work at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant outside Europe.

Desai chose to work with a chef whose culinary ethos is one of product and execution. It's all about a celebration of the highest quality produce and a drive towards perfection. His style is deeply influenced by the great chefs of France.

Keller epitomises respect - respect for the ingredients, respect for the people who prepare them. Each and every day he wants to be better than the day before. He inspires the people he works with by leading them in a way that makes them want to succeed, never disappoint. There is a sense of calm, a peacefulness in his kitchen that is unique. Every chef in his brigade forms part of a puzzle, there's no room for egos here.

Above the pass in the French Laundry kitchen is a sign featuring the definition of finesse: "Refinement and delicacy of performance, execution or artisanship." What goes beyond the pass is as close to perfection as you can get: a menu so refined it moves you on more than just a culinary level, it's an emotional experience to eat his food.  

Thomas Keller is a gentle giant. A true professional, a leader in his industry and a chef who practises the art of gastronomy at its very best.


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