Two California restaurants retain top Michelin ranking

NEW YORK Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:12pm EDT

U.S. chef Thomas Keller speaks during an interview with Reuters at a hotel in Singapore January 30, 2008. REUTERS/Tim Chong

U.S. chef Thomas Keller speaks during an interview with Reuters at a hotel in Singapore January 30, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Tim Chong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two California restaurants held on to their three Michelin stars on Tuesday when the restaurant guide announced the ranking in its latest edition for the San Francisco area.

Michelin awarded its highest ranking to The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood, both in the Napa Valley wine region.

"Three Michelin stars is considered the utmost international recognition in the culinary world, and is reserved for those restaurants that serve exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey," Michelin said in a statement announcing the results.

The French Laundry is owned by Thomas Keller, one of America's most respected chefs. He also operates Per Se in New York, which also has three Michelin stars.

Christopher Kostow, a rising star on the U.S. culinary scene, is at the helm at The Restaurant at Meadowood. Both chefs won acclaim for their skillful blending of superb techniques and local ingredients.

"These two chefs are tremendously imaginative," said an unnamed reviewer for the guide, who could not be identified.

Forty two restaurants in the San Francisco area earned Michelin stars, including six which captured two stars for their excellent cuisine, and 34 which won one star.

Baume, Benu, Coi, Manresa and Saison maintained Michelin's second highest rating, while Atelier Crenn gained one star from the previous year.

At The French Laundry, the Chef's Tasting Menu starts a $270 a person, while at the Chef's Counter Menu at The Restaurant at Meadowood costs $500 each.

Michelin's 2013 guide to the San Francisco Bay area and wine country will be launched on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Richard Leong; editing by Patricia Reaney and Andrew Hay)

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