French chef fears Michelin star is poisoned chalice

3rd March 2009, Comments 0 comments

A young French chef asked reviewers to leave his eatery out of the 2009 Michelin guide as he feels the stress of having a star will distract him from making good food.

PAU – A young French chef awarded his first Michelin star on Monday said he fought to stay out of the revered guide, afraid that joining the star system would be a poisoned chalice.

Cedric Bechade, 32, said he asked Michelin's reviewers to leave his Auberge Basque eatery in the foothills of the Pyrenees out of the 2009 guide for France, but that they "did not respect my wishes as a businessman."

Now he holds a star, Bechade said the need to hold on to the make-or-break ranking - or be seen as losing his edge - was an unwelcome diversion from the business of making good food.

"The question of whether we will keep a star, or earn another, distracts us for two whole months from our core mission - the happiness of our guests - with serious consequences on business and on morale," he said.

"The Auberge Basque should stay like the Basque country, a place for rest and comfort, free of stress."

The young chef, who has previously worked under French master Alain Ducasse, said the star would "make no difference" to his two-year-old eatery.

"This star will not change my plans for the Auberge Basque, or our attitude towards our guests - and in any case, we will not put our prices up."

AFP / Expatica

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