Toronto Becomes First MICHELIN Guide Destination in Canada


TORONTO — Michelin and Destination Toronto have unveiled The MICHELIN Guide Toronto, marking the first Canadian destination for the selection. While The MICHELIN Guide’s selection process remains independent, Michelin is working with Destination Toronto on marketing and promotion activities only.

The MICHELIN Guide Toronto will be announced in fall 2022, with a selection of restaurants receiving MICHELIN Stars (one, two or three). Additionally, inspectors will give Bib Gourmand ratings to restaurants offering quality food at good prices and award the MICHELIN Green Star to restaurants involved in sustainable gastronomy.

The MICHELIN Guide Toronto will follow five universal criteria: quality products, the mastery of flavours, the mastery of cooking techniques, the personality of the chef in the cuisine and consistency between each visit (each restaurant is inspected several times a year). Michelin inspectors have already begun visiting restaurants in Toronto and will continue over the next few months.

“For the first time in its history, the MICHELIN Guide lands in Canada, and our inspectors are excited to experience the impressive culinary landscape of Toronto,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the MICHELIN Guides. “This first selection for Canada’s largest city, and our first in the country, will represent the local flavours, international inspiration, and distinct creativity that makes Toronto’s dining scene world-class.”

“Toronto’s culinary scene is as diverse as the city itself, and the MICHELIN Guide Toronto is the perfect way to celebrate our culinary community,” said Scott Beck, president & CEO of Destination Toronto. “It will be a powerful way to share our culinary capabilities with new audiences from around the world. We’re so proud to partner with Michelin and our destination partners Destination Ontario and Destination Canada, to bring the MICHELIN Guide to Canada for the first time.”

While there are many mentions of capturing culinary diversity and promoting the travel industry, the MICHELIN Guide has also been criticized for its elitist practises, often awarding restaurants that don’t always reflect the diversity of a city. On another note, some operators argue the MICHELIN Guide won’t reach the small, independent restaurants who are still trying to recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This criticism was unpacked last week at the Restaurants Canada Show in a discussion between Trevor Lui, chef and co-founder of Quell Now, Inc., a talent agency tackling systemic inequities in today’s hospitality industry, and Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the MICHELIN Guides.

“The pandemic shone a light on our industry — a really bright light,” said Lui. “It showed the faults of our industry. It showed the inequalities of our industry. It showed the lack of diversity in our kitchens and the lack of space for women in our kitchens, so there’s a lot of questions about this level of elitism with MICHELIN Guide. What is MICHELIN doing to change its perception and ensure that underrepresented chefs in restaurants, communities and cities are positioned in a different way?”

“The pandemic brought a new focus to the restaurant industry and the people inside of it,” said Poullennec. “Of course, it’s a concern that we still many people facing unequal treatment. It’s important for MICHELIN Guide to recognize people for their skills regardless of origin or gender. When inspectors go for a meal, it’s like a blind test. They don’t know who is making the food they’re eating. It’s just about the quality of the food. We recognize merit, skills and talent.”

Globally, Poullennec said MICHELIN Guide recommendations consist of 15,000 restaurants. Out of those, 3,000 have been awarded stars. Specifically, only 134 have been awarded three stars.

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