Michelin allows top French chef to relinquish stars

FILE - In this file photo dated Thursday, Feb.9, 2017, The Michelin Guide 2017 is pictured in Paris, France. The Michelin guide said in a statement Tuesday Jan. 30, 2018, it has allowed chef Sebastien Bras to withdraw his Le Suquet three-star restaurant in southern France, from its 2018 edition because of the huge pressure involved. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, FILE)

In an unprecedented move, the Michelin guide has allowed a three-star chef to withdraw his restaurant from its prestigious listings

PARIS — In an unprecedented move, the Michelin guide allowed three-star chef to withdraw his restaurant from its prestigious listings on Tuesday.

Sebastien Bras had announced in September that he didn't want Le Suquet restaurant in southern France to figure in the guide anymore because of the huge pressure involved.

Michelin said it granted Bras' request, and that his restaurant wouldn't be listed in the 2018 edition of the guide to be unveiled next week.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Bras praised Michelin for the move and said he would still be seeking "excellence."

"I'm opening a new chapter of my professional life without the stars of the red guide, but with the same passion I've always had for cooking," said the 46-year-old Bras, who took over from his father at Le Suquet in 2009.

There have been other cases of chefs giving up their three-stars, the highest recognition in the world of fine dining. In 2005, the late Alain Senderens rejected his stars when transforming the Parisian temple of gastronomy Lucas Carton into a lower-priced establishment.

"Other chefs had relinquished their stars because they retired, or because of a concept change at their restaurant," Michelin spokeswoman Samuelle Dorol told the AP. "But It's the first time a chef asked us to be removed from the guide."

Le Suquet was among the 27 French restaurants holding three stars in the 2017 guide.

According to Michelin, holding three stars doesn't necessarily involve increased pressure because guide inspectors are giving their ratings based on five criteria that don't include layout and service.

"It's all about the quality of the ingredients used, the mastery of flavors and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef, the value for money and consistency between visits," Dorol said.

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