There’s been a shock in the culinary world after the Michelin Guide announced they were knocking a star off the Paris restaurant of Guy Savoy - who’s often named as the best chef in the world.
69-year-old Savoy has held Michelin's top three-star status since 2002 for his iconic eponymous restaurant, Monnaie de Paris, which overlooks the Seine. He was named as the best chef in the world as recently as November 2022; La Liste, which aggregates thousands of reviews from around the world, gave him that honour.
Savoy's fame goes beyond French culinary excellence - he has another Michelin-award restaurant in Las Vegas and even lent his voice to the French version of Pixar favourite ‘Ratatouille’.
But he’s not the only chef who’s seen Michelin remove his stars. The prestigious guide did the same for the La Rochelle-based seafood eatery of Christopher Coutanceau, which also went from three stars to two.
Coutanceau and Savoy will not be alone in having a sour taste left in their mouths by Michelin’s choice. Although their newest guide isn’t released until Monday (6 March), it’s thought that around 20 other restaurants have been downgraded from two stars to one.
The star decisions are shrouded in secrecy with the reasons never made public. It’s thought Michelin communicate directly with only the chefs involved. Savoy is reported to have received a personal visit from the guide's publishers.
Downgrading restaurants is always controversial and can damage the reputation of chefs and restaurants. In 2003, French chef Bernard Loiseau took his own life following rumours that his restaurant was about to lose a star.
In 2019, chef Marc Veyrat, unsuccessfully filed a legal suit against the guide after he was stripped of a star and tried to remove himself from future publications.
2023 marks the first time any restaurant has been downgraded since 2019, with Michelin citing difficulties caused by the Covid-19 as the reason.
Restaurants worldwide have faced issues since then with staffing shortages and soaring prices making the industry trickier than ever to negotiate.
Michelin has said, though, that downgrades are now necessary in order for the guide to stay relevant.
Created in 1900 by tyre manufacturers Andre and Edouard Michelin as a guide for motorists, it’s highly respected across the globe and has editions across Europe and Asia as well as North and South America.