Paris, France – The Michelin Guide, perhaps the world’s most prestigious authority on restaurants, has announced the latest batch of winners for 2019.
The highest accolade a restaurant can be awarded is a Michelin star, graded from 1 star (very good in its category), 2 stars (Excellent cooking, worth a detour) and the pinnacle of awards, 3 stars (Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey).
The guide is revered as the ultimate listing of fine dining restaurants throughout the world, and being mentioned is a high honour.
Despite the honour and prestige, some chefs and restaurateurs have criticised the Michelin Guide for heaping an enormous amount of pressure on their staff, sapping them of their creativity and burdening their small towns with traffic, tourists and pollution.
French chef Sebastien Bras inherited his fine dining french restaurant Le Suquet, from his highly awarded father, Chef Michel Bras. The elder Chef Bras held 3 Michelin stars for 17 consecutive years and the pressure of maintaining that legacy is what led Sebastien to ask the Michelin Guide to remove his restaurant from the revered Red Book.
It was a dramatic step that shook the restaurant scene in France and abroad.
At the time, he said in an interview, “ “I understand that this decision may have surprised because of thousands of chefs dream of this Holy Grail. I myself have been in this position for a very long time. But after twenty years of good and loyal service, I wanted to get out of the system and find myself. Today, I only want to be accountable to my customers.”
However, on Monday Sebastien was “astonished” to learn that his restaurant was listed again in the restaurant guide, this time with only two stars.
In late 2018, the owner of Checkers restaurant in Wales returned their hard won Michelin stars. The press attention and new found fame was making a job they had previously enjoyed, one of long hours and high stress.
In an interview with The Guardian in September 2018, co-owner of Checkers, Sarah Francis, said “…for us, it’s about taking the business in a new direction and putting our family first. It means we can work in the day and have our evenings to ourselves.”
What do you think about the Michelin Guide? Does a business owner have the right to ask to be excluded from an awards scheme like this, or do the public have a right to know the experts opinion on a chef and his food?
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