Two new three-star restaurants were announced by the Guide Michelin this afternoon in a wordy ceremony that took place at La Seine Musicale, a new performing arts center in Boulogne-Billancourt in suburban Paris: Maison des Bois in Manigod, east of Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region, the preserve of "botanical alchemist" Marc Veyrat, who applies modernist techniques to foraged Alpine ingredients (and who has twice before won three stars for now-defunct establishments); and Restaurant Christophe Bacquié at the Hôtel & Spa du Castellet, southeast of Marseille in the Var, where the eponymous chef specializes in such Mediterranean-inspired dishes as seared Spanish prawns with a "quintessence" of prawn heads and pigeon cooked in a crust of spiced salt with wild myrtle berry vinaigrette.
This brings the total number of three-star restaurants in France to 28. There were 27 last year, but Sébastian Bras of Le Suquet in Laguiole asked Michelin to rescind the honor late last year, so that he and his team could "proceed with a free spirit and without stress," and the company recently announced that they would comply.
The inspectors of the Guide Michelin now visit and rank eating places in some 30countries or regions worldwide, but the French guide — the original, which dates back to 1926 — is always the big news.
A total of 50 new one-star restaurants were added to the guide this year, including 18 in Paris — among them Iñaki Aizpitarte's trendy, influential Le Chateaubriand, of which François-Régis Gaudry, a restaurant critic for L'Express, once said, "Michelin will never give Le Chateaubriand a star, because it's too unpredictable; its essence and its chef are too wild."
Only five new places achieved two-star status this year: Flaveur, brothers Gaël and Mickaël Tourteaux's restaurant in Nice; veteran chef Bruno Cirino's Hostellerie Jerôme in La Turbie, above Monte Carlo; the historic Auberge du Père Bise in Talloires, acquired from the Bise family by Jean Sulpice, who had an acclaimed restaurant of his own in Val Thorens (and who was the youngest chef in France to ever win a Michelin star, at age 26); and not one but two French restaurants with Japanese chefs: Masafumi Hamano's Au 14 Février in Saint-Amour-Bellevue, in the Beaujolais region, and Restaurant Takao Takano, run by the chef of that name, in Lyon.