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Best Chef In The World Guy Savoy Loses Michelin Star

The famous chef was reduced to tears after the Michelin Guide downgraded his restaurant

The Michelin Guide announced last Monday, February 27, 2023, that it was knocking a star off the Paris restaurant of Guy Savoy, who is frequently hailed as the best chef in the world. The restaurant, Monnaie de Paris, has held Michelin’s top three-star rating since 2022. The famous restaurant has a stunning location overlooking the Seine, with a sister version in Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas. 

Michelin stars are awarded to restaurants, not to chefs. But this is the first time that the names of chefs who were to lose stars were revealed.

Michelin Guide director Gwendal Poullenec says removing star a carefully considered act. "These are exceptional restaurants, so you can imagine that these decisions are carefully considered, supported by numerous visits from our inspectors throughout the year," Gwendal Poullennec, head of the guide, told AFP. "For such important decisions, we include not just French inspectors but also some from other countries," said Poullennec.

Michelin also removed a star from the upmarket seafood eatery of Christopher Coutanceau in La Rochelle.

The 69-year-old Savoy is said to have been reduced to tears when he heard the news. The famous chef is beloved also as an ambassador for the French “art de vivre” — pointedly rejecting the fad for non-alcoholic drinks, for instance. In 2007, he was the voice for character of sous-chef Horst in the French version of Ratatouille. And just last November, he was named best chef in the world for the sixth year running by La Liste, which aggregates thousands of reviews from around the world. 

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While the reasons are not made public but only communicated to the chefs, the move to downgrade a restaurant is always hugely controversial, especially since the suicide 20 years ago of Bernard Loiseau -- a close friend of Savoy -- after his restaurant lost a star.

Around 20 French restaurants have also been downgraded from two to one star in the latest edition of the guide. 

Perhaps part of the shock stems from the fact that the Michelin guide has not downgraded anyone since 2019, conscious of the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But the guide says downgrades are now necessary if it is to stay relevant. “Yes, there are challenges, but they are challenges for everyone,” says Poullennec. 

Created in 1900 by tyre manufacturers Andre and Edouard Michelin as a guide for motorists, the Michelin Guide now has editions across Europe, Asia, North and South America. 

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Agence France Presse 

Lead photo: @GuySavoy