• Tire dude’s name is Bibendum, and yes, he spits out stars

The woman took a seat at one of the tables in the center of the room. She wore a light-blue dress with a high neckline, little makeup, and no jewelry. There was nothing remarkable about her appearance, and her demeanor was quiet and unassuming, as if designed to deflect attention—a trait indispensable for her profession.

Who was she? A spy, a madam? Non! She was a . . . Michelin inspector.

Perhaps John Colapinto and his 2009 New Yorker profile of one of the French restaurant guide’s undercover arbiters can be blamed for a certain amount of the hype surrounding Michelin’s annual announcements of its awardees. Is there not something glamorous about “anonymous, professionally trained experts” with identities so secret they’re advised not to tell even their parents what they do for a living?

Well, maybe, but that’s not going to stop local food scribes from bitching about, to quote Mike Sula, “the tire company’s simultaneously presumptuous, obvious, arbitrary, clueless, and frequently bizarre assessment of Chicago’s restaurant scene.”