Many Chefs Dream of Michelin Stars — This One Wants to Give Them Back
For a chef, earning a Michelin star (or two, or three) for your restaurant is considered to be one of the industry’s highest honors. Chefs toil for years on a quest for those elusive stars, and earning one gives any restaurant instant credibility. But one of France’s most legendary chefs, whose restaurant has consistently earned three Michelin stars for nearly 20 years, has asked Michelin to remove his restaurant from its gastronomic bible.
Chef Sebastien Bras of Laguiole’s Le Suquet released a Facebook video earlier this week in which he pleaded with the organization to de-list his restaurant, claiming that the pressures of having three Michelin stars, and the constant possibility that Michelin’s inspectors could be dining at his restaurant, have made his life too stressful. “Today, at 46 years old, I want to give a new meaning to my life ... and redefine what is essential,” he said. ““Maybe I will be less famous, but I accept that,” he added, noting that he wants to cook “without wondering whether my creations will appeal to Michelin’s inspectors.”
An executive at Michelin acknowledged to The Guardian that the organization has heard Bras’ plea, and will take it into account when it’s compiling its next list. But because the guide is technically for diners, not for chefs, it's not obligated, it’s not obligated to remove a restaurant just because the chef requests it.
This is the first time that a chef has requested that his restaurant be removed from the Michelin guide without making any changes to the restaurant. Bras, 46, took over ownership of the restaurant from his father, renowned chef Michel Bras, 10 years ago; Le Suquet earned three stars for the first time in 1999. One of only 27 restaurants in France to earn three stars, it’s renowned for showcasing local produce.