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Does Chicago Have a Michelin Curse?

Since 1945, the Curse of the Billy Goat has plagued Cubs fans hoping their beloved team would someday make it into and win another World Series. But it seems that a new curse may have fallen upon the city, but in this case instead of baseball, it may afflict restaurants. More specifically, those that were spotlighted in the first-ever Chicago Michelin Guide.

For years, Chicago did just fine without a Michelin guide and now that the book arrived in the Windy City, chefs who received stars or Bib Gourmand nods seem to be dropping like flies. Sure, it may just be coincidence, but is it a coincidence that the Cubs haven't won a World Series in more than 100 years? While our highly unscientific evidence simply points to conjecture, take note of the observations.

A day after the Michelin stars came out, Laurent Gras, just one of two chefs to receive the highly coveted three-star ranking, announced he officially was leaving his post as executive chef at L20 to return to New York and open a restaurant there some time in 2011.

Just 10 days before the Bib Gourmand list was posted with Mado on it, Rob and Allie Levitt, the chefs responsible for putting that Bucktown spot on the map with Rob's head-to-tail prowess and Allie's pastry magnificence, announced they had split from the owners and had plans to open a butcher shop. A little more than a month later, the chef who replaced them, Brandon Baltzley, took his team and walked out, forcing Mado to close.

Brian Enyart, the highly respected chef de cuisine at Rick Bayless' Topolobampo, announced a little more than a month after receiving one Michelin star that he would leave this spring to pursue other interests. While there doesn't seem to be any bad blood here (Bayless has said of Enyart that he's the "proud papa"), Enyart is still leaving a highly coveted post.

And on Friday, another big shock befell Chicago's dining scene. Jason McLeod, the exec chef at RIA, just one of three restaurants to get two stars, abruptly left the restaurant. We don't know whether that was on his own terms or if the Elysian Hotel's management decided to make some internal changes, but chef de cuisine Danny Grant was promoted and now oversees RIA, Balsan, the hotel's more casual spot, catering and in-room dining.

So the big question is: Who's next? What chef will make a move or what restaurant may shutter? Are we making a bigger deal out of something or do you think having Michelin suddenly appear in Chicago has put some negative mojo on our restaurant scene? Let us know. Leave a comment.
· Chicago Michelin Guide Revealed [~EChi~]
· Laurent Gras Leaving L20, Moving Back to NY [~EChi~]
· Rob & Allie Levitt Depart Mado [~EChi~]
· Enyart Leaving Topolo [~EChi~]
· Jason McLeod Abruptly Leaves RIA; Danny Grant Promoted [~EChi~]


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