The latest version of the Michelin Guide, released today, has dealt new blows to the most renowned ranks of French restaurants. For the first time since it received its three stars in 2002, Guy Savoy’s eponymous Paris restaurant has been downgraded to two stars, as has the restaurant Christopher Coutanceau in the seaside city of La Rochelle, France. A total of 25 restaurants lost stars in Michelin’s home country.
Though Michelin had paused making downgrades after 2019 in order to acknowledge the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the guide has recently revisited the practice, as Agence France-Press reported. In October, the New York City restaurants Carbone, Marea, Peter Luger, and ZZ’s Clam Bar lost their stars entirely. “Yes, there are challenges, but they are challenges for everyone,” Gwendal Poullennec, the guide’s international director, told AFP.
With the pressure associated with keeping — and losing — Michelin stars, the guide has rethought how it notifies chefs about downgrades: As the Washington Post reported last week, chefs are notified before the announcement is made publicly and while they aren’t working, to give them time to privately react and to discuss Michelin’s decision. “We stay independent, and that’s our strength, so we won’t compromise on that, but we can also take the time to explain our decisions,” the guide told the Post.
For many restaurants, this year’s guide offered good news. The restaurant La Marine, located on the northwest tip of the island of Noirmoutier, gained three stars, becoming the year’s only addition to the guide’s highest ranks. It is run by chef Alexandre Couillon and Céline Couillon, a married couple who took over the Couillon family restaurant in 1999. Thanks to the couple “and their creation of a gastronomic destination, the definition of a three Michelin star restaurant is felt more vibrantly now than ever,” Poullennec said in a press release.
Four restaurants joined the two-star ranks, and 39 restaurants received one star, with most of these new additions outside the Paris metropolitan area. Eight restaurants received the Green Star, a category the guide added in 2021 to recognize restaurants with a commitment to sustainability. The category of Bib Gourmand, which acknowledges more accessible “best value for money” restaurants, grew by 49 additions.
The full list of restaurants can be found on the Michelin site.