Earlier this year, acclaimed French chef Sébastien Bras revealed that he wanted to “give back” the three Michelin stars he and his father, Michel Bras, have maintained for 18 years at Le Suquet à Laguiole in the south of France. And today, AFP reports, the tire-company-slash-guidebook-publishers at Michelin announced that they’re letting him.
Le Suquet is currently among 27 restaurants in France with Michelin’s highest honor, but Sébastien Bras is tired of the pressure and expectations that come with a three-star rating. “We want to proceed with a free spirit and without stress, to offer a cuisine and service that represents that spirit and our land,” the chef said back in September.
Although Michelin removes restaurants from the guide when a chef retires or the restaurant’s concept changes, it’s never before removed a restaurant simply because its chef doesn’t want to be included. “It is difficult for us to have a restaurant in the guide which does not wish to be in it,” Michelin spokesperson Claire Dorland Clauzel told AFP. ”It is the first time we have had a public withdrawal of this sort.”
When Michelin announces its guide to France next week, Le Suquet will not be on it. Sébastien Bras told AFP he accepts that he may be “less famous,” but he is looking forward to trying something new at the restaurant “without wondering whether my creations will appeal to Michelin’s inspectors.”
Bras isn’t the first chef to express a desire to be rid of his stars. In 1999, Marco Pierre White, then the youngest chef to ever earn three stars, renounced them and retired from his restaurant. Since then, other chefs have publicly “given back” their stars, citing the pressure to maintain them year after year. But this is the first time, according to Michelin, that it’s agreeing to take them back.