Disarray as Michelin removes Bocuse flagship's third star

The Staff Canteen

On Friday, the news broke that Paul Bocuse's restaurant lost its third Michelin Star after five decades of holding it. 

The industry was up in arms on both sides of the channel, as it emerged the guide's international director, Gwendal Poullenec, visited the Lyon restaurant in person to inform the team that it would be downgraded to two stars. 

The infamous chef passed away two years ago after suffering from Parkinson's disease for several years, but his restaurant managed to clutch on to its three stars, more than five decades holding the accolade, as it first received it in 1961. 

Upon hearing the news, the chef's family and l'Auberge du Pont de Collonges team issued a statement saying: "From Collonges and from the bottom of our hearts, we will continue to bring the sacred fire to life with audacity, enthusiasm, excellence and a certain form of freedom."

Speaking on French radio station France Inter, Gwendal Poullenec said that although he understood the family's emotion in response to the decision, that it was based on meals eaten in 2019. 

Michelin ratings are based on the collective decision of its inspectors, he said, and "reflect the current value of a meal, adding that "there is no special treatment in the Michelin guide.”

Despite being widely acknowledged as an unwavering reference for culinary establishments worldwide, Michelin faces regular criticism too. 

Notably this year chef Marc Veyrat has hounded the guide for its decision to remove his own restaurant's third star (and is suing the guide for it) and chefs have criticised its decision to partner with online review site TripAdvisor, seen as a sign of its wavering influence.

In response to the guide's decision to strip a star from l'Auberge, he said it was as if someone had "demoted the pope."


Meanwhile, in the UK, the decision was greeted with disbelief: 


Although it continues to expand internationally, introducing new guides throughout the United States and in Asia, its growth has been tarnished by accusations of tourism board pay-offs and even bribery. 

In a bid to give the guide more credence, the new international director has said he plans on making the inspectors' work more transparent - hoping that more insight into the ins and outs of how to get a star would make it harder for people to pose as inspectors. 

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall  – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 16 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 560,000 followers across Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th January 2020

Disarray as Michelin removes Bocuse flagship's third star