The 2012 Michelin Guide San Francisco, Bay Area & Wine Country on Tuesday announced its 2012 "starred" restaurants for the Bay Area, tapping 47 restaurants with top honors -- the most ever.
Long considered among the most prestigious accolades in chefdom, the European dining guides began giving their hard-won stars to U.S. restaurants six years ago, awarding 39 in 2011 and 36 in 2010. The stars are based on the reviews of its "famously anonymous" reviewers who are notoriously discreet and difficult for chefs to identify.
But despite the breathless anticipation in kitchens throughout Northern California, there were few surprises in Wine Country. For 2012, all but one of the 2011 winners maintained their Michelin status. The only newcomer was Bodega Bay's Terrapin Creek where chef/owners Liya Lin and Andrew Truong received their first Michelin star.
Michelin Starred Restaurants 2012
Seared scallop with sweet corn and lavender ramp by chef Douglas Keane of Cyrus in Healdsburg. Charlie Gesell/The Press Democr
Applewood Inn & Restaurant's former chef Bruce Frieseke prepares a bergamot infused citrus and guava ice at the Guerneville restaurant. Crista Jeremiason
Dolce e Forte of Duck, spice braised duck with orange, sultanas, raisins, pumpkin seeds and chocolate prepared by chef Bruce Frieseke at the Applewood Inn & Restaurant in Guerneville. Crista Jeremiason
White grapefruit is prepared at the Applewood Inn & Restaurant in Guerneville. Crista Jeremiason
A citrus cured steelhead, chioggia beets and kumquat dish made by chef Bruce Frieseke at the Applewood Inn & Restaurant in Guerneville. Crista Jeremiason
Scott Beattie of Cyrus pours a "Bleeding Orange," Crista Jeremiason / Savor
Joseph Bain at Madrona Manor Wine Country Inn & Restaurant in Healdsburg, California. Photo: Erik Castro/for Savor Ma
An assortment of Andante Dairy cheeses that are served at Madrona Manor Wine Country Inn & Restaurant in Healdsburg Erik Castro/for Savor Magazine
Chef Thomas Keller prepares to prepare a salmon in the kitchen of The French Laundry in Yountville. John Burgess
Chef Thomas Keller shows his Chef d Partie Devon Knell the preparation of sea bream in the bustling kitchen of The French Laundry in Yountville. John Burgess
A 12-foot-tall palm tree provides a canopy for a handful of diners at Bouchon in Yountville. Jeff Kan Lee
Chef de Cuisine Andrew Cain at Sante. Jeff Kan Lee
Braised Kurobuta pork cheeks at Sante. Jeff Kan Lee
Foie Gras two ways at Sante. Jeff Kan Lee
The main dining room at Sante has a view of the pool area of Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. Jeff Kan Lee
The little gem salad at Sante. Jeff Kan Lee
Bing cherry souffle at Sante. Jeff Kan Lee
Madrona Manor's maitre d' Joseph Bain stirs the cream while preparing the restaurant's signature dessert, the tableside Cart a Glace. Jeff Kan Lee
A peek at the kitchen at Madrona Manor. jeff Kan Lee
Madrona Manor's lobster "cuit sous vide," French for "cooked under Vacuun." Jeff Kan Lee
Sonoma lamb at Madrona Manor, Healdsburg. Jeff Kan Lee
Cold smoked toro and ossetra caviar at Meadowood, St. Helena. Jeff Kan Lee
Terrapin Creek Restaurant
Terrapin Creek Cafe chef/owners Liya Lin and Andrew Truong. Jeff Kan Lee
Pan-seared scallops at Terrapin Creek Jeff Kan Lee
The dining room at the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville Jeff Kan Lee
Roasted peach melba at the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville
Yukon gold potato ravioli at the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville Jeff Kan Lee
Receiving the highest Michelin honor of three stars were The Restaurant at Meadowood, led by Executive Chef Christopher Kostow, and The French Laundry, headed by Thomas Keller.
Kostow Tweeted the news to his followers minutes before the Michelin Guide officially broke the news: "Congrats to all the Restaurants earning stars in this years @MichelinGuideSF. My staff and I are honored to be in such esteemed company."
Both restaurants received three stars in previously. Worldwide, fewer than 100 restaurants have earned a three-star rating.
Healdsburg's Cyrus Restaurant received two stars for 2012, it's sixth year for the honor. "For the last five years I've been sitting by the phone like a guy waiting for an invitation to a Sadie Hawkins dance. This year we took the dogs for a walk, and when I got back I saw the missed call," chef/owner Douglas Keane said Tuesday afternoon after receiving a second call from Michelin to congratulate him.
After five wins, Keane said he's taking the whole thing in stride. "Last year, for weeks before I was on pins and needles, but last night it only got to me for a moment. I woke up at 4 a.m., but that was it," he said.
"It's great for morale, and for something to keep striving for as long as you don't focus on it.
"They've put us on a national level," Keane said.