April 5, 2006

Michelin to expand food guide to San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Having tried the cuisine in New
York City and deciding American restaurants can merit its top
ratings, Michelin said on Wednesday it was expanding its
guidebook series to San Francisco's legendary restaurants.

Michelin introduced its first American guide -- New York
City -- in November, giving four restaurants out of 507 reviews
its coveted and rare three-star ratings.

The San Francisco area has some of America's best-known
restaurants including Chez Panisse in Berkeley, where Alice
Waters is credited with pioneering Californian cuisine.

Thomas Keller, the owner of another renowned Bay Area
restaurant, French Laundry in Yountville in Wine Country, was
the only American chef to gain three stars in the New York
guide for Per Se.

"We have witnessed in the last 20 years an incredible
number of resources, an incredible number of chefs, an
incredible number of people who actually move forward very
fast, who move the gastronomy of the States to a higher level,"
Jean-Luc Naret, Michelin's worldwide director, told Reuters.

"I think we come at the right time," said Naret.

Of 15,000 restaurants reviewed in 21 countries, 52 earn
Michelin's highest three-star rating for exceptional cuisine.
The guides also include hotels.

One American and four European inspectors have already
started to dine anonymously across the San Francisco area, and
the new guide is expected to be published in October.