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Can a Michelin 3-Star Chef Renounce his Stars ?

Bras Le Suquet. Photo: Relais & Châteaux

Sébastien Bras, head chef of Bras Le Suquet, the unique three-star restaurant/hotel, based on sustainable development, terroir, and fresh herbs – located “above the clouds” in Laguiole (the Aveyron region) – is asking the suits at Michelin [1] for his family address to be deleted from the Guide as of 2018.

In a statement to AFP on September 20th, the son of Michel Bras, founder of the restaurant – one of the 27 *** star restaurants in Michelin France – explains that he made this decision “in agreement with all his family”. Le Suquet acquired its third star in 1999.

Bras father and son. Photo: Relais & Châteaux

Sébastien Bras, who has helmed the restaurant for ten years, says he wants to “open a new chapter of his professional life without the recognition of the red guide.” Age 46, his ultimate goal now – with his faithful brigade and his wife Veronique – is to pursue his quest for culinary excellence.

He sites the pleasure and also the enormous pressure that inevitably results from the distinction of the *** stars that was awarded in 1999.

“This is the first time a chef has asked us not to be included in the guide, we take note and respect chef Bras’ request,” said Claire Dorland-Clauzel – executive vice president of Michelin’s brands and external relations – adding that the withdrawal would not be “automatic”.

“Michelin guides are not published for restaurateurs, but for customers, its independence also lies in the award of distinctions,” insisted Ms Dorland-Clauzel. “The teams will consider the request; we have to think carefully what we will do,” she said.

Not exactly precise Ms D-C is it ?  Before Sébastien Bras, other chefs gave up the race to the stars. In 2003 *** chef Bernard Loiseau committed suicide when newspaper reports hinted that his restaurant might lose its 3-star status. In 2005, chef Alain Senderens, at Lucas Carton, gave up his *** stars, claiming he had changed his concept. In 2006, Antoine Westermann did the same and, in 2008, Olivier Roellinger closed his *** Cancale restaurant.

Speaking of the “great pressure” – linked to the three stars – mentioned by Sébastien Bras – Mrs. Dorland-Clauzel said, “excellence involves hard work and rigor, this is undeniable, but cooking is not the only domain concerned, it is also true for top sportsmen/women,” she reasons. “If asked, we usually advise chefs – do not work for the Michelin guide – work for the customer”.

Website: www.bras.fr [2]