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Michelin France 2020: Oldest three-star restaurant loses title

Michelin inspectors have called time on France’s longest-standing three-star restaurant, run by chef Paul Bocuse until his death in 2018, but other venues saw an upturn in fortunes, including the Le Taillevent in Paris.

Restaurant Paul Bocuse in Lyon, also known as l’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, was demoted to two stars in the Michelin France 2020 guide. 

It had held three stars since 1965 and the news comes two years after the death of chef Bocuse, aged 91.

There was some confusion around the communication of the move; restaurant staff learned of the demotion around a week prior to the new guide’s official release.

‘Although we are upset by the inspectors’ decision, there is one thing we never want to lose and that is the soul of Monsieur Paul,’ said the Bocuse family and restaurant director Vincent Le Roux.

They highlighted a new gastronomic experience, launched at the restaurant in October 2019, that was well received by journalists and diners alike.

Elsewhere in Lyon, Saisons restaurant at the Paul Bocuse Institute was one of 49 restaurants to gain a first star in the new Michelin France guide. 

Others included three restaurants in Bordeaux: 

  • Solena, where chef Victor Ostronzec ‘makes the dishes dance and sing’;
  • L’Oiseau Bleu, described as a ‘culinary symphony’ of contemporary takes on classic dishes from southwest France, under chef François Sauvetre;
  • Tentazioni, where chef Giovanni Pireddu creates ‘the culinary treasures of Italy’ from local market fare.

A further 11 restaurants gained a second star, although not all of these have seen a neat upward trajectory.

Le Taillevent promoted

Legendary Parisian restaurant Le Taillevent recovered its second star, lost in the 2019 guide, under chef David Bizet. 

Its owners, the Gardinier family, expressed the desire to focus on fine dining after selling Château Phelan Ségur in Bordeaux’s St-Estèphe appellation in 2017.

Le Taillevent, founded by André Vrinat in 1946, has long been a destination for fine wine lovers and previously held three stars for 34 years up to 2007. The Gardiniers bought a majority stake in 2011.

New three-star restaurants

Three restaurants received a third star in the Michelin France 2020 guide and they included L’Oustau de Baumanière in Provence, led by Breton chef Glenn Viel and which boasts more than 50,000 bottles of rare French wines in its cellar.

In Paris, Kei Kobayashi became the first Japanese chef to gain three stars in France, at his Kei restaurant on Rue Coq Héron.

Chef Christopher Couteanceau also gained a third star at his eponymous restaurant in La Rochelle, on the coast of western France.

Michelin inspectors were particularly enamoured by the partnership between Coutanceau and sommelier Nicolas Brossard. 

‘The harmony between the chef’s delicious creations and the depth of the aromas in the wines that accompany them is evident.’

Eric Beaumard wins the sommelier award

Eric Beaumard received the Michelin sommelier award this year, praised for his work in mentoring junior staff as well as his charisma and humility in equal measure. 

Beaumard is sommelier and manager of the Le Cinq restaurant inside the Four Seasons George V hotel in Paris and was largely responsible for creating the restaurant’s 50,000-bottle wine cellar after it opened in 2001. 

He came second in the hotly contested ‘world’s best sommelier’ competition in 1998.

From the archive: French chef sues Michelin over lost star

See also: Top ten winery restaurants for foodies

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