Michelin makes Australian chef a star

6th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 5 (AFP) - An Australian chef who moved to France 12 years ago has been awarded a cherished star rating in Europe's top food bible, the Michelin guide, despite owning a restaurant that is, as he puts it, "behind the French black stump - in the middle of nowhere."

PARIS, Feb 5 (AFP) - An Australian chef who moved to France 12 years ago has been awarded a cherished star rating in Europe's top food bible, the Michelin guide, despite owning a restaurant that is, as he puts it, "behind the French black stump - in the middle of nowhere."

William Page said he only learned of the honour given to his tiny establishment, Le Lievre Gourmand in a central village called Vailly-sur-Sauldre, when journalists starting calling.

"My first reaction was 'we got 'em'," he said of the anonymous inspectors that Michelin sends around to test quality eateries.

 "For 12 years we've worked a long time doing a lot of things" that deserved a mention in the book, he told AFP.

"Honestly, I feel it's been quite some years we've had the level to be in Michelin."

The famous guide on Thursday released its 2004 list of French restaurants it deems to offer the very best in cuisine, giving them one star to the much-coveted three stars.

The evaluations often determine the fortunes of restaurateurs, with many cashing in on their new-found clout to raise prices or expand.

But Page, 45, said he planned to keep things just the way they were, with him and his three staff putting their all into gourmet three-course menus ranging from EUR 24 to EUR 48
(USD 30 to USD 60) excluding wine.

Mouth-watering offerings include ravioli stuffed with truffles and foie gras and grilled scallops served with caramelised endives.

"I can't see a big impact on turnover happening," he said, explaining that his relative isolation meant customers had to specifically search him out.

When he first set up business, buying the farmhouse that he turned into the restaurant "with almost no money," he said French customers were floored that a non-Frenchman was able to turn out the sort of dishes they thought had to come from "genetically inspired" chefs.

"You found you had to work twice as hard to be considered half as good as others," said the chef, who was born and raised in Papua New Guinea, and who now has dual Australian and French citizenship.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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