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"The people in Los Angeles are not real foodies. They are not too interested in eating well but just in who goes to which restaurant and where they sit"

Says Jean-Luc Naret, Michelin Guide's boss.

Good! One less guide I need to worry about.


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  1. There are foodies in Los Angeles, and some people who call themselves foodies but are really just starf*ckers. The starf*ckers are pretty easy to spot; they're the ones who only seem to eat at restaurants they've heard of on "Top Chef." Or Mozza. They like Mozza.

    1. Bon d├ębarras and don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out, monsieur Naret. You're just bitter because we don't worship at the altar of your stars and rosettes.

      1. That's actually true.

        Note, Naret did not say "all people". Just "people". And Naret did not say that there NO people in LA who care about food.

        I mean seriously, is there really any argument that people -- and quite a bit of people -- in LA are really into the scene and not the food?

        After all, how else do you explain the sustained and continued viability and (gasp!) popularity of places like Katsuya, Mr. Chow, Koi, Crustacean, etc.?

        Not defending Michelin -- personally, I think the guide is a bit antiquated -- but there's a lot of truth in that statement.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I find that we have to be extra careful in L.A. to not end up in a scene-only restaurant. There are *loads* of good places in L.A., but the scene issue is more of an issue than in any other city I've eaten in.

          1. re: Indirect Heat

            Your predicament might have to to do with the company around you. It also has to do with the issue that LA probably has more celeb-types residing and working in the area than any other area in the US. I was born and raised in LA, live in the Westside of LA spend a lot of time in Venice (California) and can play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon in two or three degrees on a very regular basis - definitely weekly, and sometimes even daily - multiple times a day is not unheard of. If there ever was a very specialized niche that was built for celebs but can be accessed by star gazers, it the restaurant/night club scene in LA. It is such a small portion of LA's food culture but so highly visible for obvious reasons.

            A big part of what LA's about is grasping on to reality - the reality of what living in LA is all about. It's not about celebrities unless one chooses it to be that way, and maybe I'm just jaded by it all because I'm a native here. The vast majority of folks who seem to buy into this whole star-crazed madness are out-of-towners. Remember the TV show, "Baywatch"? How many people look and live like that? It's amazing how many people outside of LA assumed that LA was swarming with gals who wore 36d-cup red bathing suits, jiggled while running around slow-motion on the beach, and rescued at least one knucklehead beach-goer every 30 minutes? :)

            1. re: bulavinaka

              Remember the TV show, "Baywatch"? How many people look and live like that? It's amazing how many people outside of LA assumed that LA was swarming with gals who wore 36d-cup red bathing suits, jiggled while running around slow-motion on the beach, and rescued at least one knucklehead beach-goer every 30 minutes? :)


              But, but, but ... wasn't your high school experience just like Beverly Hills 90210, and then when you graduated from high school/college, didn't you live your life just like the people on Melrose Place ...

          2. re: ipsedixit

            Well, Mozza deserves the attention. It's a good place to eat. It's popular to hate Mozza, but would one rather a crap restaurant getting more attention?

            We can certainly rationalize the semantics of Naret's statement, but I think it's a stretch. We know what he meant. To imply that Katsuya and Koi are the culture of LA is certainly not true.

            For every person who clamors to be seen at Katsuya, I'll assume there's multitude of others who would not. I'll assume that most people here on Chowhound would not.

            Celebrities complicate the whole thing, obviously. I think one must be able to discern the difference between a place popular for being a celebrity hangout and one that's popular for it's food. The two have no relation to one another. But unfortunately outsiders read US magazine with a blurb about "Brad Pitt ate at The Vine," and then associate The Vine with good food. And then the city's reputation suffers because of it.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              While I definitely agree that we have many ridiculous (and apparently successful) scene-y restaurants here in LA, my experience has been that they are frequented largely by tourists. I have never had a fellow Angeleno suggest going to one of them, only out-of-town visitors. And while I haven't spent enough time in other cities to make a fair comparison, there certainly are ridiculous scene-y restaurants that are hugely popular elsewhere. Eataly, anyone?

              1. re: aching

                >>I have never had a fellow Angeleno suggest going to one of them, only out-of-town visitors.<<

                I think you're right on here, but this goes for folks who have moved here from out of town as well - at least at first. As time passes, many of these folks become naturalized Angelenos and become just as jaded as us "natives" - all three of us. :)

            2. That's so sad and ridiculous for him to make that kind of a statement in a town that not only has cuisines from different parts of the world, but has people who do love good food more so than any other Michelin-reviewed city in the world.

              7 Replies
              1. re: attran99

                "but has people who do love good food more so than any other Michelin-reviewed city in the world."

                Whoa!! Hold on there my friend. You sure about that?

                LA has more people who love food than NYC? More than Chicago or SF? Even more than places like Paris? Or Tokyo?

                Not saying you're wrong, but you seem so sure and adamant about it ... curious as to your basis for that position.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  According to the wikipedia: Los Angeles has a population of 3,833,995. Tokyo has a population of 13,010,279. It certainly seems possible that there are more foodies in Tokyo than there are people in Los Angeles.

                  1. re: Indirect Heat



                    "[Southern_California's] population encompasses a total of five metropolitan areas: Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino, San Diego, Oxnard-Thousand Oaks and the El Centro area. Out of these, three are major metropolitan areas, each of which have over 3 million people; the Los Angeles area with over 12 million inhabitants, the Riverside-San Bernardino area with over 4 million inhabitants, and the San Diego area with over 3 million inhabitants. The region as a whole is practically identical in population to Texas, with more than 24.2 million people, and is the nation's most populous region behind the urban seaboard of the Northeastern United States."

                    If my math is correct, "the Los Angeles area with over 12 million inhabitants" + "the Riverside-San Bernardino area with over 4 million inhabitants" ( which is the area covered by this board) totals 16+ million people. Or more than Tokyo.

                    1. re: RicRios


                      The greater Tokyo area, which includes contiguous cities such as Yokohama, Kawasaki, and Saitama City, among others, has a population exceeding 35 million people- making it the WORLD'S most populous metropolitan area. Or more than Southern California....and um, Canada.....It's also nearly entirely accessible by public rail transit.

                      1. re: RicRios

                        Heh, Silverjay beat me to the punch.

                        1. re: RicRios

                          Not sure where you pulled 'Southern California' from - the subject here has been purely 'Los Angeles'. Plus, it's not as if Michelin would have even considered investigating those areas when it didn't even bother to acknowledge neighboring OC

                          1. re: ramenbound

                            "Not sure where you pulled 'Southern California' from"
                            Click the wikipedia link in my post.

                            "the subject here has been purely 'Los Angeles'"
                            Maybe the subject was misunderstood by the posters?
                            Common usage indicates the "larger metropolitan area" when mention is made of a particular city.
                            If Michelin understood the political boundaries of the City of Los Angeles when writing their guide, then they shouldn't have mentioned Spago, located in the City of Beverly Hills.

                  2. Unfortunately, a guide like the Michelin really isn't a guide that can highlight Los Angeles' strengths which is in non-fine dining establishments and "ethnic" food. But I doubt the people at Michelin have actually tried anything that was written in LA Weekly.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: david t.

                      Well, most other Michelin cities are also strong in these areas. But L.A. has some excellent Michelin contenders - Providence being my favourite.

                      1. re: Indirect Heat

                        LA has the largest _____ population outside of the home country. You can fill in the blank with various ethnicities. Korean, Mexican, Thai, and Persian come immediately to mind, but I'm sure there are others.

                        I think LA definitely beats all the top Michelin cities in variety and *depth* of cheap ethnic food.

                        The only food reviewer to ever win the Pulitzer Prize writes for the LA Weekly and has influenced more people and gotten them to try new things than a Michelin guide ever could in this city.

                    2. Seems to me that the only threads on the L.A. board seeking out celebrity sitings are either from non-local Chowhounds coming to town, or locals who are responding to the desires of their non-local relatives who are coming to town.

                      Since Mr. Naret seemingly resides somewhere other than Southern California, it would seem to me that he has no real, ongoing, firsthand knowledge of the Southern California dining community. His motivation then to make elitist pronouncements must be to prop up the cachet of his little dining guide. Poor fellow, I am sure the good folks over at the AAA Tour Book have probably never heard of Mr. Naret and his tire company throwaway rag.

                      1. Sounds like Mr Naret has got his definition of foodie mixed up. A foodie enjoys well-prepared food, choice ingredients, a cuisine with a history or a story. It can be a fine dining establishment or it can be a hole in the wall. Los Angeles is a big city. You are going to have people into the "scene" and you are going to have people into the food. New York has a lot of people into the "scene" as well.

                        However, there are a lot of people into the LA food culture in which word of mouth is much more important than some star. And lets not forget this is the city that started the gourmet food truck movement, which has brought new flavors to many people.

                        His comments remind me of what the Food Network said to Anthony Bourdain when he did A Cook's Tour-The Food Network wanted him to go to glamorous places not countries like Vietnam or Cambodia.

                        1. I will never consider myself a foodie. I live in Los Angeles and am proudly a chowhound, now give me another order of Pollo Maniaco. :-)