Michelin star for already closed French eatery

1st March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The latest edition of the world's top restaurant listing, Michelin's Red Guide, awards a consolation star to a tiny sea food joint that had already closed down for lack of customers.

Failed restaurateur Max Bichot heard about the award from a former employee after Monday's publication of the renowned restaurant bible, two months after he shut "Les Hetres" in the Norman fishing village of Ingouville.

"I'm happy, because it's an honour that lots of chefs covet, it's just a bit late," he told AFP ruefully.

Michelin's feared inspectors must have visited Les Hetres last year, for they were delighted by Bichot's "baby mackerel in white wine and citrus juice" and his "red snapper fillet on a bed of ratatouille and rosemary."

Sadly, no-one else will get to share their experience, as the restaurant closed on December 30 "because there weren't enough customers". Two chefs and two serving staff were laid off.

In 2001, Bichot's former restaurant -- "The Inn on the Cliffs" -- also closed suddenly, when the cliffs in question threatened to collapse. "I'm used to this kind of thing," he joked.

So will his belated honour convince him to try again? Not immediately.

"I have had the great good fortune to fall in love with a woman who has a sea food restaurant in Yport, 'The Mermaid'. I'll help out in her kitchen, with no stress," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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