Michelin Announces First ‘Michelin Guide New York City’

NEW YORK, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Michelin will launch its first-ever Michelin Guide in North America, the Michelin Guide New York City 2006, hitting stores in November 2005. The announcement was made today by Edouard Michelin, CEO of The Michelin Group.

The Michelin Guide, whose prestigious rating system is internationally recognized as the height of culinary success, is already published in 12 editions covering 20 European countries. For its much-anticipated debut in North America, the Michelin Guide will provide a comprehensive selection and rating, in all categories of comfort and prices, of some 500 New York City restaurants and 50 hotels, in a reader-friendly layout adapted to the American market and unique New York City culinary and hotel landscape.

“We are delighted to launch our first Michelin Guide for North America, in response to a strong demand from our readers in recent years to whom our European guides provide an invaluable travel tool,” commented Mr. Edouard Michelin. “As we’ve done with each of our 10 editions outside France, we are making every effort to produce a selection that does full justice to the rich diversity of the New York City restaurant and hotel culture and also meets our readers’ expectations.”

As part of its meticulous and highly confidential evaluation process, Michelin inspectors — both European and American — are conducting anonymous visits to New York City restaurants and hotels. In all cases, it involves test meals or overnight stays at each establishment by Michelin inspectors, in order to assess the level and the regularity of the establishment.

“The Michelin inspectors are the eyes and ears of the customers, and thus the anonymity of our inspectors is key to ensure they are treated the same as any guest would be treated,” commented Mr. Edouard Michelin.

Starting in February 2005, the inspectors will also make pre-arranged full inspections of each establishment, with management, to complete their findings. Once the 2006 Guide appears, future evaluations will take place though, in order to ensure anonymity, inspectors are regularly rotated so as not to return to the same establishment for several years. Restaurants and hotels selected for inclusion in the Michelin Guide New York City 2006 will be listed by neighborhood and also cross-referenced by category. Each New York City borough will be included in the guide, with Manhattan further divided into neighborhoods.

The Michelin Guide offers a broad selection of hotels and restaurants in each price and comfort category, taking into account each country’s local environment. This rating is unique and consistent across all countries covered by the Michelin Guide. It is expressed in two ways:

— A comfort rating : levels of comfort are rated using one to five forks
and spoons for restaurants and one to five pavilions for hotels. Those
symbols only judge the comfort of the establishment. They are: the
furnishings of the establishment, the service, the cleanliness and
upkeep of the surroundings.

— Special distinctions for certain establishments : these include stars
for the very best restaurants, Bib Gourmand and Bib Hotels symbols for
the best moderately priced food or accommodation. Red forks and spoons
or red pavilions are for especially pleasant establishments. The stars
and the Bib Gourmand symbols judge only “what’s on the plate,” meaning
the quality of products, the mastering of flavors, the mastering of
cooking, the creativity of the chef and his team, the value for money
and the consistency of what it offers to its customers both throughout
the menu and the year.

Certain restaurants deserve to be brought to the reader’s attention for the particularity fine quality of their cooking. These establishments are identified by Michelin stars, which are awarded for the standard of meals served. As Michelin often says, “The stars are in the plate.”

The star ratings are as follows:

— One star indicates “a very good restaurant in its category,” a good
place to stop on your journey.

— Two stars denote “excellent cooking, worth a detour,” with specialties
and wines of first-class quality.

— Three stars reward “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey,”
where diners eat extremely well, sometimes superbly. The wine list
features generally outstanding vintages, and the surroundings and
service are part of this unique experience, which is priced
accordingly.

The decision to award a star is a collective one, based on the consensus of all inspectors who have visited a particular establishment. A written description of each establishment and a variety of other symbols will give readers further insight into an establishment’s ambiance, type of cuisine and specialties, and wine list, customized to American tastes and needs.

The two founders, Andre and Edouard Michelin, first impacted the transportation world, and consequently the travel world, when their innovative ideas led to the first pneumatic automobile tires. Since this breakthrough in travel technology, the Michelin Group has been dedicated to providing unbiased, accurate, clear and easy-to-understand information for the traveling customer. The Michelin Guide, first published in 1900, was created to provide motorists with practical information about where they could service and repair their cars and find quality accommodations or a good meal. The Guide was provided free of charge until 1920, and the “star system” for outstanding restaurants was introduced in 1926, with the two- and three-star categories introduced in the early 1930s, clearly positioning Michelin as the most respected arbiter of fine dining. With their unparalleled commitment to quality, Michelin publishes close to 20 million maps, atlases, travel guides and hotel and restaurant guides in more than 70 countries worldwide every year.

The Michelin Guide New York City 2006 will complement the existing catalog of Michelin maps and guides to the North American market. The Guide will be available in November 2005 at bookstores, boutiques and other participating retailers, including online retailers.

Michelin is the worldwide leader in the tire industry. The Group manufactures, sells and promotes products and services dedicated to mobility, such as tires for airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles, the space shuttle, wheels, maps, travel guides, atlases and digital services ( ViaMichelin.com ). Headquartered in France (Clermont-Ferrand), Michelin is present in 170 countries, employs 125,000 and operates 74 production sites in 18 different countries ( www.michelin.com ).

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