Disarray as Michelin removes Bocuse flagship's third star

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th January 2020

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. 

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th January 2020

Disarray as Michelin removes Bocuse flagship's third star