Ricotta dumplings with summer squash, tomatoes and almond pesto at Protégé. (Photo by Natalia Nazarova)
By Kate Bradshaw
At Monday night's ceremony to reveal the new and returning Michelin-starred restaurants throughout California, there weren't many new surprises as far as the Peninsula was concerned. No Peninsula restaurants received new stars, and two dropped off the list from last year. There were also no new Peninsula additions to Michelin’s "Bib Gourmands" list, restaurants that are recognized for having good quality and value.
Returning to the list of Peninsula restaurants that earned one Michelin star were:
• Chez TJ, Mountain View
• Protégé, Palo Alto
• Selby's, Atherton
• The Village Pub, Woodside
• Sushi Shin, Redwood City
• Plumed Horse, Saratoga
• Wakuriya, San Mateo
• Sushi Yoshizumi, San Mateo
Restaurants that receive one star are considered to be "very good" in their category, have quality menus and prepare cuisine to a consistently high standard, according to the Institute of Culinary Education.
Both Madera at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park and Rasa in Burlingame (now Saffron) were recognized with one Michelin star in 2021, but dropped off the list this year. In June, Rasa chef and owner Ajay Walia explained in an interview with the Foodist why he was giving up his Michelin star to reopen as a second location of his more casual concept Saffron, citing pandemic pressures such as cost hikes as well as the sentiment that the luxury and demands affiliated with a Michelin-starred restaurant no longer fit.
“What became challenging was managing peoples’ expectations. And those were not Michelin’s expectations, those were people’s expectations of what Michelin should be,” Walia said.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 10 previously starred Bay Area restaurants dropped out of this year’s guide, the highest number in the region since at least 2019.
Walia’s decision followed chef Bruno Chemel’s move to forfeit his Palo Alto restaurant Baumé’s two Michelin stars in 2021 and pivot to the more relaxed Bistronomie by Baumé.
David Kinch, chef of the Peninsula’s only three-Michelin-star restaurant, Manresa, announced his departure in August, effective at the end of the year, to focus on his more casual-concept eateries. Following Kinch’s decision, Manresa announced last month that it would permanently close Jan. 1. Kinch was honored during Monday’s Michelin awards ceremony, and the Michelin Guide's international director, Gwendal Poullennec, gave him a special salute.
"David, we appreciate your outstanding work and admirable contribution to the industry. We wish you all the best for the next chapter," he said.
Kinch briefly took the microphone to share his optimism about California's culinary future, and to hint that he's not through with the Michelin crowd just yet.
"After three years of COVID and everything everybody's been through, it's very obvious to me that the potential that California offers with its talent, its diversity, (its) quality of ingredients… the future is very, very bright," Kinch told attendees.
"Everybody here should be very, very proud of everything they accomplished, but more importantly what lies ahead. And you haven't seen the last from me yet," he added.