WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The first Michelin guide for Washington is set for release on Thursday in a boost for the burgeoning dining scene in the U.S. capital, and chef Jose Andres has won two stars for one of his restaurants.
Stars from the famed red Michelin guidebook could thrust restaurants into the international spotlight and help Washington further shed its image as a city of stodgy steakhouses designed for political power lunches.
Washington becomes the fourth U.S. city to have restaurants rated by the Michelin guide, after New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Michelin guides, which award up to three stars for the very best restaurants, cover 28 countries around the world.
Andres went public on Twitter about winning two stars for his Minibar restaurant several hours ahead of the scheduled release of the Michelin guide.
"People of America+the World, Gentes de Espana! Got phone call@MichelinUSA@minibar by Jose... 2 **," tweeted Andres, who has been called one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
The stars were the first for Andres, a Spanish-born U.S. citizen. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is suing Andres for pulling plans for a restaurant in Trump's new Washington hotel after the candidate made comments last year slamming Mexican immigrants.
Andres had said half of his work team was Hispanic, along with many of his guests, and Trump's comments made it impossible to go ahead.
"I could live my life without the Michelin star, but life would not be the same. You can say what you want about Michelin, but Michelin is the dream of so many chefs like me," Andres was quoted as saying in the Washington Post.
It was not yet known what other restaurants in the city, if any, won Michelin stars. The new guide is further acknowledgement of Washington's growing reputation as a destination for foodies. Bon Appetit magazine named the U.S. capital "Restaurant City of the Year" in August.
The French Michelin tire company introduced the little red book in 1900 to encourage people to take road trips. Its star system began in the 1920s.
Michelin deployed its anonymous critics in Washington last fall. Restaurants are rated on such factors as creativity, personality, the quality of ingredients, value, and consistency.
Tokyo was named Michelin's dining capital of the world in December 2015 for the ninth year in a row. (Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Frances Kerry)