One of France's greatest chefs, Olivier Roellinger, is closing his three-star restaurant on grounds of fatigue and personal reasons, the latest of several top cooks to give up on high-pressure establishments.
Roellinger, 53, whose award-winning restaurant is located in the small Brittany port of Cancale in western France, said that "after 26 years of happiness at the oven it is becoming increasingly difficult by the day to cope with the physical demands."
He is the fourth Michelin three-star chef to throw in the towel in the last few years since then "chef of the century" Joel Robuchon gave up his stars in 1996 at the age of 51, saying life in the top lane was too stressful.
He was followed by Alain Senderens in 2005 and Alain Westermann in 2006. The three have since opened new award-winning eateries.
Badly beaten up when aged 20, Roellinger began cooking during his two-year convalescence and subsequently dropped out of university to become a chef.
A seafood, spices and vegetable connoisseur, he won his third prized star from the Michelin Guide foodie bible in 2006 for his epomymous restaurant, which will close December 15.
"I will transmit and share my cuisine differently, more in line from now on with my deep desire to communicate," he said.
"I will go towards a wider public, and be more available than I could have been by keeping the three stars," added Roellinger, who also runs a bakery, a spice-oriented grocery, a cooking school, B&Bs and a smaller bistrot-restaurant, all in Cancale.
"We are sad to see Roellinger retire from haute gastronomy," said the director of the Michelin Guide Jean-Luc Naret.
One of 26 chefs currently boasting the three-star distinction from the revered food bible, Roellinger is also among a handful of the critics' favourites, hailed for gastronomic ingenuity and talent.
"By taking this decision," said food writer Francois Simon in the daily Le Figaro on Saturday, "he has decided to maintain his joy in cooking.
"The Michelin brought him glory, but he remained wise."