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New French Michelin published

The 2008 Michelin Guide to France is about to be published – with new stars for Robuchon and the emergence of Toulouse as a new mecca for gourmets.

The widely-predicted elevation of Gérald Passédat’s fish restaurant Le Petit Nice in Marseille from two stars to three, and the demotion of Guy Martin’s Le Grand Véfour from three stars to two, were announced yesterday by Michelin in Paris.

The statement went out three days ahead of the publication of the celebrated ‘red guide’ to France.

Passédat is the third generation to run his family restaurant. It offers what must be France’s most expensive – and oddly-spelt – ‘bouille-abaisse’, priced at €135 a head.

Paris sees just one new two-star restaurant: l’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. This brings the chef’s total to 18 stars for his restaurants around the world – four ahead of his rival Alain Ducasse.

There are also five new one-stars, including the fusion restaurant Ze Kitchen Galerie and – good news for wine lovers – Il Vino d’Enrico Bernardo.

The latter was opened last September by Bernardo, voted the world’s best sommelier of 2004.

Outside Paris, Toulouse cements its status as a rising gastronomic destination by adding another two-star – l’Amphitryon – and two new one- stars, En Marge and Metropolitan.

The Bordeaux region celebrates the return to one-star status of Jean-Marie Amat at Lormont. He previously cooked at the Hôtel St James at Bouliac.

Also in Bordeaux is a new two-star restaurant, Hostellerie de Plaisance in Saint Emilion.

Bizarrely out of step though with other French guides, Michelin gives one star to Octopus in Beziers, while overlooking Octopus’s former chef Olivier Bontemps.

Bontemps was singled out by the Omnivore guide as the best new opening last year, for his restaurant O Bontemps in Magalas.

And Jean-Luc Rabanel, Gault Millau’s 2008 Chef Of The Year, has to content himself with retaining his single star for his eponymous restaurant in Arles.

Written by Fiona Beckett

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