French Chef Who Gave Michelin Stars Back Last Year Gets Them This Year Anyway
“I made my position clear last year and I still feel the same still," Sebastian Bras said.
“Michelin is pleased to unveil the selection of the MICHELIN Guide France 2019,” the company wrote in a press release earlier this week. “Including 632 starred establishments, the 2019 vintage has grown this year with 75 new establishments gaining either one, two or three stars: a record level never seen before.”
The 2019 vintage also includes one two-star establishment whose head chef was straight-up shocked to see its name printed on its pages—mostly because he specifically asked Michelin to take his restaurant out of it.
In September 2017, Sebastien Bras, the chef at Le Suquet in Laguiole, France, contacted Michelin and asked to return his three stars and be removed from their guide. Although Le Suquet had held their top honor for 18 years, Bras said that he no longer wanted the “huge pressure” that follows finding your restaurant in the Guide’s index. “You're inspected two or three times a year, you never know when," he said at the time. "Every meal that goes out could be inspected. That means that every day one of the 500 meals that leaves the kitchen could be judged."
It was the first time a chef had gone all “thank u, next” on Michelin, but they agreed to remove Le Suquet from the 2018 edition. “It is difficult for us to have a restaurant in the guide which does not wish to be in it," Claire Dorland Clauzel, a Michelin spokesperson, told AFP at the time.
But fast forward a full year, and Michelin seems to have either forgotten about Bras’ request—or they’ve just chosen to ignore it. Le Suquet is back in the 2019 Guide, although Michelin only awarded it two stars this time. (Which, we’ve got to hand it to them, is a solid troll job.)
“This contradictory decision has left us with doubts, even if in any case we no longer worry about either the stars or the strategies of the guide,” Bras said in a statement. “I made my position clear last year and I still feel the same still, and more than ever, enjoying the confidence of our clients.”
According to Food & Wine, France has 27 three-star restaurants in this year’s Guide, along with 85 two-star restaurants, and 520 one-star establishments. MUNCHIES has reached out to Michelin for comment about their decision to re-include Le Suquet against the chef's wishes, and we will this story update if we hear back. Regardless of what they say, we can’t wait to see where Le Suquet will (or won’t) be in next year’s edition. And if Bras is really desperate to avoid the accolades, he could always just...make his food worse.