Maybe if We All Stop Talking About the Michelin Guide, It Will Just Go Away

The best way to deal with a bully is to ignore them

Last week, the local restaurant economy took a devastating hit when the Michelin Guide announced it would be passing over L.A. (again) in favor of Washington D.C.

Diners canceled reservations en masse. Line cooks threw down their side towels and turned their middle fingers to the sky. Servers from Venice to Highland Park could be seen wandering the streets, chugging bottles of Fernet, screaming, “WHYYYYYYY? WHYYYYY, YOU INDISPENSABLY IMPORTANT MICHELIN SONS OF BITCHES, WHYYYYYY????”

Except none of that happened. Nothing happened at all, actually. At worst, someone read one of the many headlines and said to themselves, “Huh. Sucks” At best, seeing Michelin in the news reminded someone to get their tires replaced and it saved them from a fatal freeway blowout, but that’s a long shot.

LAist—aptly and convincingly—argued that the Michelin snub was actually a compliment to our food scene’s ethnic and economic diversity. Eater LA asked, “Should LA care that the Michelin Guide picked DC over the City of Angels?” to which most commenters answered, “Nahhhh.” That’s all great—I agree that we shouldn’t care, and I think some stodgy, French quote-unquote “food inspectors” refusing to step foot in the city is the equivalent of your old downstairs neighbor tapping his ceiling with a broom to tell you your music’s too loud—but I think we should take it one step further. We need to forget the Michelin Guide ever existed.

Every time Michelin passes on L.A., we repeat the same comforting platitudes about how the guide isn’t as relevant as it used to be, and how L.A. doesn’t fit into the mold of what they’re looking for, and how any guide that only covers three American cities is literally the antithesis of diversity, and how we’re too punk rock for the racist, classist, elitist fine dining scene.

But even then we’re still talking about it. We’re still recognizing that the Michelin Guide has weight and mass which means we’re still giving it power. And every time we use the phrase “Michelin-starred” to describe the honors bestowed on Providence, Mélisse, et al more than half a decade ago, we’re giving out free advertising for a system that a large majority of us don’t agree with.

If we’re going to say we DGAF about Michelin, let’s actually DGAF about Michelin. From here on out, until the the content mines run dry, I will never again mention that bloated French motorists’ guide. My vow of Michelin silence starts today, and if enough people follow suit, they will gradually fade from our collective memories, and it’ll be like they never existed at all.

Oh, we should still point out when they tweet vaguely racist things though. That’s just good fun.
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