Michelin’s new guide celebrates California’s world-class culinary status

A look at what Michelin Guide coverage means for Sacramento dining scene

Michelin will expand its California restaurant guide coverage to include Sacramento as well as greater Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Monterey.
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Michelin will expand its California restaurant guide coverage to include Sacramento as well as greater Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Monterey.

California cuisine has long embodied the state’s spirit of discovery and unrivaled agricultural foundation.

A bounty of fresh ingredients has fused with creative inspiration from diverse sources to make the Golden State a global food destination.

And now California — from its proud and industrious culinary community to millions of adventurous diners — can celebrate recognition as the first state to receive its own Michelin Guide.

California’s groundbreaking partnership with Michelin will expand and elevate the global profile of the state as a food destination, bestowing world-class status on hundreds of restaurants in the prestigious series of books, from three-star establishments to local favorites awarded the “inspector recommended” designations, Plates and Bib Gourmands.

Food trends, cooking techniques and dining scenes come and go, but for more than a century, the Michelin Guide has held firm on its founding mission — to foster a culture of travel and eating out. It’s this promise of helping people find those hidden gems that puts the Michelin Guide above all others.


Farm-to-table cuisine is ingrained into local lifestyles across the state. It also is becoming a growing attraction for visitors – one of the reasons California is the top visitor destination in the United States. Tourism generated $132 billion in traveler spending and supports more than 1.1 million jobs for California workers.

One study showed as many as one-quarter of potential visitors may choose California as their destination because of culinary opportunities here. And dining is consistently the top experience travelers spend on — with food and beverage purveyors seeing $35.9 billion in travel-related revenue in 2017.

Caroline Beteta
Caroline Beteta Visit California

Karen Ross

Sacramento will certainly benefit from Michelin’s decision to publish a California guide. The capital city has long been seen as a culinary leader by residents and visitors. As Visit Sacramento CEO Mike Testa said at Tuesday’s announcement, the credibility that Michelin brings will further cement the region’s identity as a culinary powerhouse.

The Michelin Guide’s emergence in California underscores the importance of the state’s world-renowned agriculture industry and its impact on our Michelin star-worthy restaurants.

California is home to 76,400 farms and ranches. Our state generates at least $100 billion in agricultural-related economic activity. It’s a powerhouse thanks to a year-round growing season, ideal climate and a mouth-watering abundance of crops.

Each diverse region contributes its own specialty to the state’s bounty, whether it be Napa and Sonoma’s vineyards, Butte County’s almond orchards, Fallbrook’s avocados or Gilroy’s garlic. These are just a few of the distinct offerings in which California’s communities take pride, and they represent only a fraction of our agricultural output.

The Golden State has always been an icon of endless possibilities. Food is no exception. Fostering the reconnection of consumers to the land and the people who produce their food — and improving access to California-grown agricultural products while also sharing it with the world — is what makes California special.

Receiving a Michelin star is the highest honor bestowed on a restaurant. Receiving an entire guidebook is an honor that speaks volumes for the Golden State’s agricultural and culinary prowess.

Caroline Beteta is president & CEO of Visit California. Karen Ross is secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.