The 2019 French Michelin Losers’ Tour

Many ardent food travelers will soon be heading to Annecy (Clos des Sens) and Menthon (Mirazur) to keep up-to-date their “I have eaten in every three-star restaurant in France” status. I bet no one has ever planned a trip to all of the restaurants that have just lost their third star. However, this year presents a particularly worthwhile opportunity for doing just that. Such a tour would not only be very scenic and historic, but likely no less delicious than any other gastronomic ones you might think of. Start in Paris where L’Astrance was always significantly less expensive than any other three-star restaurant in Paris, besides which its chef Pascal Barbot is highly-respected. High up in the Alps, Marc Veyrat’s restaurant La Maison des Bois provides a retrospective of renown dishes of one of the most-esteemed chefs of his generation. Moving on to Alsace, Marc Haeberlin of the fabled and picturesque Auberge de L’Ill  took the hit of losing for the first time the third star his father earned in 1967. Do you really think the restaurant wouldn’t be as good this year than it was last year? Onward to the heart of the Auvergne where two years ago, Michel Bras’ son Sebastian asked that his three-star restaurant Le Souquet  be permanently taken out of the Guide Michelin, a request it honored for one year. In mean-spirited fashion, the editors put his restaurant Le Souquet back in minus a star. The chief victim, however, is Alain Dutournier, a chef’s chef who never seems to get his due. His Place Vendôme restaurant Les Carré des Feuillants lost its second star and his Au Trou Gascon in the 12th Arrondissement  lost its only star, all on the same day. Note that the average age of these chefs is 59. Thanks, Michelin for your lack of rigor, along with your increasing commercialism that taints your judgement, as well as your growing lack of respect for much of what gave French cuisine a UNESCO World Intangible Heritage designation.

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