Should Michelin stars matter anymore?

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Last week food media buzzed about Los Angeles and California finally getting a Michelin guide after Michelin infamously said in the past that LA did not have “real foodies”. LA was finally getting its due according to the chatter and proving the national food elites wrong.

This week all that hype and media attention redirected when it became known that Visit California paid Michelin $ 600,000 to build a California guide. It isn’t the first time with South Korea paying Michelin $ 1.8 million for a guide in the past to much criticism and claims of corruption. Eater did a thorough look in the past into this pay-to-play environment, but did not have a local case to look to.

California is legitimately one of the best states to eat at in the United States, funding a Michelin guide is a weird look for a state that is pushing and constantly changing the food industry.

Change of heart? More like change of cash. If Michelin guides are simply pay-to-play that really cheapens the prestige of the system. Why should taxpayers foot the bill for a private business to peddle around a star system for restaurants? If anything Michelin truly shot itself in the foot yesterday when this was published into the news.

To be clear – Visit California and tourism bureaus in general regularly pay for sponsored ads with entities from influencers to writers and publications. Many of those Top 10 guides you see in publications are not as organic as they may seem.

The partner groups are usually required to only cover restaurant and business partners to the tourism bureau (read companies that have paid for coverage), although Michelin claims that there has been no control from tourism bureaus over the restaurants receiving star ratings. Still none of these groups have the kind of recognition and so-called prestige that a Michelin star has.

Last week I dined at Mensho Tokyo in San Francisco, a Michelin Star restaurant, and packed with crowds out the door. There is no denying that a Michelin star brings business and Mensho Tokyo is certainly one of the best ramen bowls I’ve enjoyed recently. Their Michelin rating hangs proudly outside their door for diners to see. This kind of system should not be pay-to-play.

What if Yelp charged cities and taxpayers to exist in their towns? I am sure the outrage would be through the roof. What Michelin is doing is no different.

Miami is one of the most populated cities in the world and is filled with plenty of great restaurants and chefs making waves as well a rich and diverse dining landscape. Yet there is no Michelin stars there? Evan Benn made a great point yesterday that without Visit Florida and Miami paying out cash to Michelin there is no guide. Is this in any way fair to the chefs and restaurants doing great work in Miami?

How can Michelin call themselves a legitimate source of great restaurants if they are going to snub cities, states, and nations that refuse to fund their private enterprise? Quality  should not be decided by whether your town has paid their Michelin taxes. LA was always a great place to eat, but Michelin did not care until they were paid their fee and tried to spin it as a public relations win.

Who is Michelin to decide what towns matter and are “foodie” towns? During a time period where we cannot even fund our schools and pay our teachers, why is taxpayer funding being directed to a private dining guide like Michelin? How many local publications could have been supported with the funding that Michelin is swallowing from tourism agencies? Should Michelin stars matter anymore? I don’t think so.

Carlos Eats

March 15, 2019 |

NFL stars partner with Lakeland Police for youth football camp

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Two current NFL players teamed up with Lakeland’s Police Athletic League and area coaches on Saturday to show kids just how its done on the field, and to give back to the community where they started their football journeys.

  • Mike, Maurkice Pouncey played football at Lakeland High
  • 1st year twins partnered with Lakeland Police Athletic League for camp

Twins Mike and Maurkice Pouncey, who before their prolific college and pro careers were standout football players at Lakeland High School, hosted their annual "Pouncey Twins Football Camp," now in its sixth year, at Lakeland Christian School.

More than 800 children children participated, learning how to play all of the positions on the football field, at the direction of the Pouncey twins, more than a dozen of their teammates, and area coaches.

Ph: Stephanie Claytor, staff

The free football camp, organized with Lakeland’s Police Athletic League for the first time, is just one way the twins give back to the Lakeland community that has given them so much.

"We just want to let them know that football isn’t the only answer,” said Mike Pouncey, a 3-time Pro Bowl center and guard for the Miami Dolphins.  “You got to be doing good in school. You got to make sure you have a plan to fall back on in case football doesn’t work out."

That’s just one piece of advice Pouncey shared with one of his mentees, Dacoda Weaver. Weaver is entering his first season playing football, thanks to the encouragement of the twins.

Standing just as tall as them, Weaver wants to follow in their footsteps, and calls them his idols. He said Mike told him not to let his rough childhood prevent him from achieving his dreams.  

"He said, ‘You know what man, that just makes you better for the person you are today. Be thankful for everything you get. You have a bed, you have a home. Everything you have. You’re working for what you want, and you’re going to get that one day,’" said Weaver.

Ph: Stephanie Claytor, staff

The twins’ mother was Weaver’s elementary school teacher. Weaver said their mother connected him to them when he was eight years old and she noticed he was getting picked on for being biracial.

Weaver has been close to the Pouncey family ever since.

"All we want is to teach them, to guide them and show them there’s a way out of poverty, honestly," Mike Pouncey said.

We asked the twins if they planned to promote change on a larger scale, and what was their response to Carmelo Anthony’s push on Instagram for athletes to be more vocal about demanding change in light of the recent police shootings and the police ambush in Dallas.  Anthony called for athletes to do more than protest, march and tweet, posting to instagram Friday.

“We have to put the pressure on the people in charge in order to get this thing we call JUSTICE right…I’m calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge. Go to your local officials, leaders, congressman, assemblyman/assemblywoman and demand change.”

Mike Pouncey agreed with Anthony, while Maurkice called for a non violent approach.

“I think [Anthony’s] right,” Mike Pouncey said. “Athletes are put on a platform where they can be seen in front of everybody and they’re followed by a lot of people and so they’re very influential. So I think it’s our job to go out there and show people that this world needs to change and things needs to be changed."

"I think violence is not the answer at all," said Maurkice Pouncey, a four-time Pro Bowler with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bay News 9 – local-news

July 9, 2016 |
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