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2016 MICHELIN GUIDE

RESTAURANT

‘S**t! B**lox!’- Ramsay sees Versailles restaurant lose star

The famous Michelin oracle of gastronomy revealed its new guide on Monday, taking one star from the big name British chef Gordon Ramsay.

'S**t! B**lox!'- Ramsay sees Versailles restaurant lose star
British chef Gordon Ramsay. Photo: AFP
Big name British chef Gordon Ramsay's Trianon restaurant at Versailles was downgraded by the country's most prestigious gastronomic guide on Monday, dropping to just one star.
 
However, the Brit broke even as he picked up a star at his Bordeaux restaurant Le Pressoir d'Argent.
 
Ramsay took to Twitter to promise to buy his team some bubbly- after service of course.
Elsewhere, French superchef Alain Ducasse, had a similar experience to Ramsay after earning a third Michelin star for his restaurant at Paris's Plaza Athenee hotel but he too lost one at the equally opulent Le Meurice.
 
The Plaza Athenee joins Le Cinq, where Christian Le Squer is the head chef, as the only two eateries to enter three-star territory this year, as the industry reeled after the apparent suicide on Sunday of top French chef Benoit Violier.
   
“Alain Ducasse took a brave decision to come up with a style of cooking based around the idea of 'naturalness'” at the Plaza Athenee, the guide's US-born international director Michael Ellis said. 
 
“And Christian Le Squer is a real virtuoso. Every dish by Christian Le Squer is a real work of art, a shining example of what French gastronomy does best,” he added.
 
Meals at the Plaza Athenee, which is on Rue Montaigne in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, will set diners back anywhere between €210 and €380.
 
The five best French restaurants 'in the world'

The interior of the Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in Paris. Photo: Pierre Monetta

 
There's a wider price scale at Le Cinq, on Avenue George V in the eighth, with meals ranging from €110 to €400.
 
The guide also promoted ten restaurants into the two-star category (five of which were in Paris), and 42 restaurants around France up to one star. 
 
The 10 new two star restaurants include five in Paris:  Paris 7e Sylvestre (Sylvestre Wahid), Paris 8e Le Gabriel (Jérôme Banctel), Paris 8e Le Grand Restaurant – Jean-François Piège, Paris 16e L’Abeille (Christophe Moret), Paris 16e Histoires (Mathieu Pacaud).
 
France now boasts 600 restaurants with Michelin stars, 26 of which are three-starred. A further 82 have two stars, and 492 have one star. 
 
 
Ellis said the guide's feared army of anonymous inspectors notorious for punishing the slightest slippage in its exacting standards, had found French gastronomy to be in rude good health.
  
Paris – long criticized for the quality and value for money of its cuisine in comparison to the provinces – has made particular progress, he claimed.
   
“Of the 380 tables that have entered the guide for the first time, 100 are in Paris. It is proof that the city is more than ever a place where chefs want to cook,” he said.
   
The youngest new entry into the hallowed guide was 23-year-old Angelo Ferrigno, chef of the Maison des Cariatides at Dijon in eastern France.
 
While some call the Michelin guide the oracle of the culinary world, not everyone respects the starred ratings. 
 
Meg Zimbeck of the respected Paris By Mouth food blog slammed the entire process, after shelling out more than €7,000 to review all the capital's three-star venues.
 
In fact, she told The Local last year that diners should steer well clear of the “overblown and least exciting” eateries.
 
A full list of Paris's three-star Michelin restaurants

 
Pierre Gagnaire – 8th
Le Cinq – 8th
Plaza Athenee – 8th
Epicure au Bristol – 8th
Le Pré Catelan – 16th
Guy Savoy – 17th
Ledoyen – 8th
L'Ambroisie – 4th
Astrance – 16th
Arpège – 7th
 

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RESTAURANTS

Michelin unveils Covid-era France picks despite criticism

The Michelin Guide reveals Monday its annual pick of France's top restaurants despite criticism over its decision to hold the awards while establishments remain closed in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Michelin unveils Covid-era France picks despite criticism
Auberge du Pont de Collonges. Photo: AFP

Three-star chefs can rest easy, however, after Michelin said none will be demoted as the health crisis rages.

The industry bible's boss Gwendal Poullennec defended inspections that led to 57 new stars overall, even though restaurants remain shuttered after lockdowns imposed last spring and again since October.

“It's an important decision to support the industry, despite the current situation and perhaps even because of the situation,” Poullennec told AFP.

“All the establishments that have kept their star this year or won one are restaurants that fully deserve it,” he said.

READ MORE: Michelin calls off its 2021 France ceremony, but insists there will still be a guide

Michelin has drawn fire for bestowing its verdicts as chefs rack up losses while adapting their menus for takeaway or deliveries — and food fans have little chance of booking tables anytime soon, with or without face masks.

The rival Best 50 list, based in Britain, cancelled its 2020 ranking last year, while France's La Liste said this month that instead of rankings it would honour innovative chefs who have persevered amid the pandemic.

Michelin called off the lavish gala ceremony that was to be held in Cognac, southwest France – the first time outside Paris – and instead will announce the 2021 winners in a YouTube broadcast from the Eiffel Tower.

'Consistent quality'

But Poullennec said all three-star restaurants will keep their stars – France including Monaco counts 29 – while the handful of demotions will affect only restaurants that have closed or changed their dining concept.

He insisted that inspectors worked double duty and even cancelled their sacrosanct summer holidays to eat and drink as much as possible when restaurants were allowed to open under strict virus restrictions between France's lockdowns.

Michelin also brought in inspectors from elsewhere in Europe and even Asia to back up the French team.

“This selection has been made with the same serious attention, and inspectors were able to judge as many meals as the previous year,” he said.

“Despite the difficulties, chefs have risen to the occasion and maintained consistent quality, at times even succeeding in making further progress,” he added.

Poullennec, who took over the guide in 2018, has overseen several choices that have raised eyebrows among chefs and foodies alike.

Last year Michelin shocked industry insiders by downgrading the Auberge du Pont de Collonges — the oldest three-starred restaurant in the world — after the death of its legendary chef Paul Bocuse.

And in January 2019, Marc Veyrat became the first chef to sue the famous red guidebook after it withdrew the third star for his French Alps restaurant La Maison des Bois just a year after it was awarded.

Veyrat, who lost his case, has said he never wants to see a Michelin inspector in any of his restaurants ever again.

 

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