After nearly 100 years of Michelin stars being doled out around the world but never making their way to Canada, Toronto may soon become the country's first city to earn one.
The French tire company announced on Tuesday that it would be officially expanding the Michelin Guide into Canada, with Toronto set as the first destination for Michelin's inspectors.
Toronto has long been home to world-class restaurants with some even hosting chefs who have earned stars at other restaurants. But Michelin inspectors, who are responsible for awarding outstanding restaurants with one, two, or three stars, have never made their way to the great white north. The Toronto Michelin Guide is expected to come out in the fall, meaning inspectors have already begun visiting local restaurants to prepare their reviews.
"For the first time in its history, the Michelin Guide lands in Canada, and our inspectors are excited to experience the impressive culinary landscape of Toronto," said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides. "This first selection for Canada's largest city, and our first in the country, will represent the local flavours, international inspiration, and distinct creativity that makes Toronto's dining scene world-class."
Restaurants can also earn a Bib Gourmand Award for offering quality food at good prices, as well as the Michelin Green Star, given to restaurants utilizing sustainable gastronomy.
Inspectors will continue their visits over the next few months, anonymously making reservations to ensure they are getting the authentic experience that a typical customer would have. Michelin bases their ratings on five important factors: quality products, mastery of flavours, mastery of cooking techniques, personality of the chef in the cuisine, and consistency between each visit. Restaurants are inspected several times a year to ensure the latter.
"This is an exciting moment for our city as Toronto will become the first Michelin Guide destination in Canada," said Mayor John Tory. "This further bolsters our reputation as a world destination for food and cuisine. Our diverse city, along with the many renowned chefs who call Toronto home, have helped us get to this point and to be able to showcase all of the wonderful restaurants."
The announcement comes as restaurants across the city are continuing to recover from losses experienced during the pandemic. It will likely bring some hope to Toronto restaurant owners as other cities around the world have experienced increased restaurant spending on Michelin star selections.
"While we await the guide, I encourage Toronto residents to continue supporting and celebrating the revival of Toronto restaurants by dining in locally to sample the diverse culinary offerings our restaurants have to offer," Tory said.
To promote the guide, Michelin is teaming up with Destination Toronto -- a City of Toronto partner that promotes tourism and support for local businesses.