Like the first sparrow of spring, the publication of the annual Michelin guidebooks results in a bit of noise from the brand's rivals.
The city's insistence on craft and hard work over flash and trends in its kitchens has set it apart from other metropolitan counterparts that treat food more as entertainment and commerce.
Despite the rise in user-generated reviews and the rise of great restaurants that don't fit into the "fancy dining" model Michelin celebrates, the brand's Red Guides still drive the discussion (and bookings) in dining whenever a new edition is published.
Despite Michelin's online floundering, its yearly updates create new destination restaurants every year and set the tone for what's expected from high end dining -- even if fewer and fewer people are pursuing it.
Oh, you say you understand the digital world Mr. Traditional Guidebook Publisher? How about not leaving the task of renewing your domain name registration to the summer intern.
Michelin and Gault-Millault may have dodged the blame in the fallout after Loiseau's suicide, but the tragic act was more a testament to the chef's fragile condition and the pressures of the French restaurant than the guides' rating systems.
The Michelin Guide has significant work to do to remain relevant in the digital sphere and to prove that content created by experts can trump mostly amateur user-generated content.
The rise in culinary accolades in Germany could be connected its economic stability and position as one of the few European countries where patrons still frequent restaurants.
The always highly anticipated list is preceded by weeks of hand-wringing in some of the world's best restaurants and any sneak peek instantly lowers blood pressures or leads to preparation to get a star back the following year.
The reasons behind guidebook companies' origins -- from Eugene Fodor's spies, to Arthur Frommer's budget, to Tony Wheeler's hippie trek -- are almost always the most fascinating part of the story.