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French chef asks to be stripped of three Michelin stars

A French chef whose restaurant has been awarded three Michelin stars has asked to be stripped of the classification because of the pressure to cook perfect meals each day that may be inspected at any time.

Published: September 21, 2017

Sebastien Bras, whose restaurant Le Suquet is located in southern France, announced in a Facebook video that he did not want to appear in the 2018 edition of the Michelin Guide, which awards stars for excellence to restaurants around the world.

“Maybe I will be less famous but I accept that.” - Sebastien Bras

Le Suquet was given its third star in 1999. Mr Bras took over the restaurant from his father a decade ago.

“I decided, in agreement with all my family, to open a new chapter of my professional life without the award of the Michelin Guide, but with so much passion for the kitchen. I intend to continue with my faithful team to make this magical experience… always with this quest for excellence,” the acclaimed chef said.

Speaking to AFP, Mr Bras said he felt “huge pressure” to produce meals of the highest standard each day.

“You’re inspected two or three times a year, you never know when.

“Every meal that goes out could be inspected. That means that, every day, one of the 500 meals that leaves the kitchen could be judged,” said the chef, whose restaurant serves a menu including red mullet, venison and poached pears.

Inspectors never identify themselves when they dine at a restaurant that they are reviewing. It is thought that even executives at Michelin have never met some of the inspectors.

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Although Mr Bras admitted that having his restaurant earn three Michelin stars brought him “a lot of satisfaction,” he said he would accept that “maybe I will be less famous” without them.

Michelin said Mr Bras’s decision had been noted and was respected but that his restaurant would not be automatically removed from the guide. Due consideration would be required.

Mr Bras is not the first chef to want to dissociate himself from the prestigious stars. Others have cited reasons such as restricting creativity and the pressure to be flawless.

What is Michelin?

Guide books are published annually by the French tyre company Michelin.

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They award stars based on excellence to establishments around the world.

1 star = “A very good restaurant in its category”

2 stars = “Excellent cooking, worth a detour”

3 stars = “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”

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• The original article appeared in our sister paper inews

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