A chef who publicly withdrew his restaurant from the prestigious Michelin guide has been re-entered into this year’s listings, despite relinquishing his three stars.
In 2017 French chef Sebastien Bras announced that he no longer wanted his restaurant, Le Suquet in south central France, to be considered for inclusion in the 2018 guide, having held three Michelin stars for the past 18 years, due to the “huge pressure” of being judged by inspectors.
Michelin agreed to remove Le Suquet, stating that it was difficult “to have a restaurant in the guide which does not wish to be in it”.
It was the first time that Michelin had allowed a chef to formally withdraw their restaurant from its pages, without having closed its doors.
Other restaurants have dropped out when chefs retired or closed their restaurants, or the concept had changed. In 1999 Marco Pierre White famously gave back the three-star status of Restaurant Marco Pierre White, retiring from cooking and closing the restaurant.
In 2005, the late French chef Alain Senderens closed his three-star Art Nouveau Paris restaurant claiming he had had enough of the pressure to perform and wanted to create “beautiful cuisine without all the tra-la-la and chichi”.
However upon publication of the 2019 guide earlier this month, Bras was surprised to find his restaurant back in the guide, albeit awarded two instead of three Michelin stars.
In an interview following his re-entry, Bras told Centre Press Aveyron that Michelin had made it clear a restaurant has no choice but to live under pressure.
Mr Bras took over Le Suquet from his father in 2009, with the restaurant focused on provided meals sourced from natural, local ingredients, often from the family garden.
Elsewhere, the Alsace restaurant Auberge de L’Ill lost its third star after 51 years with the accolade. 24-year-old Julia Sedefdjian earned her first star for Paris-based, Nicoise-inspired restaurant Baieta.
Stephanie Le Quellec gained a second star for her acclaimed Parisian restaurant La Scene, while Amelie Darvas was awarded a star for Äponem-Auberge du Presbytère, which is situated in an old church in the tiny village of Vailhan.
Argentinian Mauro Colagreco is now the only foreigner to have three stars in France for his Mirazur eatery on the Cote d’Azur.