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Michelin Wants the General Public to Sit and Applaud Its Taste in Restaurants This Year

Michelin’s annual, bizarre “revelation” event seeks to broaden its appeal

Marcus Wareing and Sat Bains at Michelin Guide’s Michelin stars announcement in 2018
Just me and the boys
Michelin [Official Photo]

Michelin really, really, really wants London to care

London and the U.K. and Ireland’s Michelin stars for 2021 — and all their attendant bells, whistles, and thoroughly bizarre ceremonial unveiling — will be open to the public in a new version of the annual event. On 19 October at Camden’s Roundhouse, members of the public will be able to graduate from expressing support, dismay, and distress in the comments on a Facebook livestream to expressing support, dismay, and distress in person. It has also announced a separate event for its Bib Gourmands, the “thanks for playing” restaurant award that inadvertently advertises its creator’s structural blindspots.

This move — combined with the guide’s recent crowdsourcing of photos on Instagram — is plainly a relevance play, but also a manifestation of one of Michelin’s central tensions: it wants to be a restaurant authority, but is reluctant to actually elucidate its criteria beyond the star definitions from its inception; the ones predicated on getting people to drive more and thus need to buy more tyres. Its mythos is part of its power. Now, as it attempts to add sustainability to its credo while still selling tyres and offers furtive peeks behind the vulcanised rubber curtain, will this mean that this year’s Michelin revelation is ... less weird? Clearer? More trenchantly justified? Wait and see. Eater has asked the Michelin Guide to confirm whether the event is free with a ballot, or whether people will have to pay for the privilege. Imagine the goodie bags!

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