Calistoga restaurant Auro scores new Michelin star as Sonoma County eateries hold onto theirs

The restaurant industry celebrated a night of Michelin stars under the twinkling stars of the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland Tuesday, and Wine Country shone bright.|

The restaurant industry celebrated a night of Michelin stars Tuesday under the twinkling stars of the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland — and Wine Country shone bright.

In what’s considered the highest honor for chefs and restaurateurs, the historic dining guide noted three Sonoma County restaurants: SingleThread Restaurant & Farm, which maintained its coveted three stars; chef Doug Keane’s fledgling Cyrus, also maintaining the one star bestowed on it last December just months after opening; and Barndiva in Healdsburg, keeping its single star.

The ceremony marked the release of California’s 2023 Michelin edition, with 614 restaurants. Just 87 have stars. There were no new two- or three-star restaurants announced.

The Bay Area once again had the lion’s share of notable restaurants, with 42 of the 87 stars statewide.

One of the night’s biggest surprises was a new star for Auro in Calistoga, headed by chef Rogelio Garcia at the Four Seasons in Napa Valley.

Michelin Inspectors called the restaurant an “au courant embodiment of classic Wine Country fine dining. Thanks to skills honed in some of the Bay Area’s most notable kitchens, chef Rogelio Garcia displays a distinctly Californian perspective, using precise technique in order to highlight exceptional ingredients — most of which are sourced locally, including from onsite gardens.”

“It’s incredible; what a journey. It’s a milestone for sure,” Garcia said as he stood among hundreds of his peers, including his mentor, chef Philip Tessier of Napa’s Press restaurant, which also maintained its one-star status.

Other North Coast winners included Elk’s Harbor House, keeping its two stars; and Barndiva, keeping the one star it won for the first time in 2022.

SingleThread’s Director of Operations John Schafer received the Michelin Outstanding Service Award.

Keane, mingling before the ceremony, waxed nostalgic about the awards. His original Cyrus restaurant had two stars when it closed in 2012.

“It’s so fun to see a bunch of friends. These are great people I’ve cooked with for a long time,” he said. “The camaraderie is the most fun. The anxiety is not.”

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