Memo to Michelin: Shove your stars …

3-star chef wants out of the rankings

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According to the NY Times

Sébastien Bras, one of France’s most celebrated chefs, has stunned the French culinary world with an unlikely plea: Take my three Michelin stars away.

Mr. Bras is fed up with the pressure of maintaining those stars. He says he is seeking nothing less than culinary “liberation” and “a new meaning to my life.”

While the stars confer cachet and financial security, Mr. Bras’s audacious move is also reflective of a new generation of chefs, some of whom are eager to escape from the punishing strain of unpredictable rankings and malicious food critics.

“Three stars mean that everything must be perfect, at any time, in every plate. One must be passionate, a genius, but mostly a workaholic, because you have to be working in your restaurant from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day, nonstop.”

There’s also an economic angle …

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The incredible stress aside, industry experts noted the financial burden of retaining a third star — including maintaining a refined décor and employing a small army of fastidious staff — at a time when French cuisine has been democratized and many French people do not want to spend a fortune on dinner.

Another 3-star chef said that he too was fed up with the agony of perfection and wanted to do “beautiful cuisine without all the tra-la-la and chichi, and put the money into what’s on the plate.

As I like to say: “There’s no easy way to make a living these days.”

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