Back in May, I happen to come across a 1912 copy of Michelin’s Guide to France. It was exceedingly cool to see and I’d love to find a copy for my own library. (For those of you looking for a reminder on how the Michelin Guide works, click here.)
After returning to Toronto, I then serendipitously learned that our city would be getting its own guidebook this fall, which will be a first for both Toronto and for Canada as a whole. A Michelin-starred restaurant means something to some people, and has generally been proven to drive tourism dollars — so this is perhaps a big deal.
But there’s a lot of opacity around how these guides work and how a restaurant gets awarded one, two, or three stars. Who are these secretive reviewers? And is it really worth the money that governments need to pay to the French tire company? South Korea allegedly spent US$1.8 million back in 2016 to get its guide.
Andrew Weir, who is the executive vice president of Toronto’s tourism marketing group, was recently interviewed about all of the behind-the-scene efforts that took place in order to make this upcoming guide happen. If you’d like to have a read, click here.
In my view, all of this is very much an act of city building.