The biggest news that’s come out of this year’s 10th annual New York City Michelin Guide —besides Emma Bengtsson becoming the first female chef in New York to receive two stars — is Daniel’s downgrade from three to two stars. The news follows Daniel’s star-docking from The New York Times’ Pete Wells earlier this year. In fact, chef Daniel Boulud’s crown jewel of a restaurant is the first restaurant to lose a three star rating since 2007, when Alain Ducasse’s Essex House was taken off the list due to an extensive renovation. Essex House never got their star back, and actually closed in 2012.
So given this grim set of circumstances, is Daniel Boulud worried about his reputation being tarnished? When the announcement was made he tweeted out an upbeat, “Got two * still a great honor. My team and I are committed to excellence,” along with a photo of his cookbooks alongside a Michelin man figurine.
When asked about the downgrade, Michelin’s Michael Ellis told Bloomberg “Daniel Boulud is a great chef and he's got a wildly popular restaurant. But we've been following him closely and he hasn't been consistently delivering food at the three-star level.".
Even though Boulud is only the second chef to ever lose his three-star rating in New York’s Michelin guide, the “three star club” itself has always been exclusive to the same group of restaurants. Since 2006, Jean Georges, Le Bernadin, and Per Se have all scored three star ratings year after year. In 2009, Masa joined the “old boys club.” In fact, since 2012, the only newcomers to the Michelin three-star list have been Eleven Madison Park, and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare.
Analysts of the three-star loss from Grub Street have noted that Daniel Boulud may just not be following current gourmet trends, but that if he wants to get back in favor, he would have to make some changes soon, before, like Alain Ducasse, it’s too late.
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi