LYON: In Lyon, France’s capital of gastronomy, the city is waking up to news that Restaurant Paul Bocuse will lose its third star when Michelin announces its results on Monday 27 January.
The news was published exclusively by Le Point who called the news ‘an electrochoc’ and the effect of a bomb in gastronomy.
The restaurant in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or in Lyon had three stars continuously since 1965.
But the news comes as no surprise because it has been rumoured since last year when Marc Haeberlin (L’Auberge de l’Ill), Marc Veyrat (La Maison des bois) and Pascal Barbot at L’Astrance all lost their three stars.
Le Point said that Gwendal Pullennec, the Michelin Guide director was in Lyon yesterday morning to announce the decision to the restaurant team telling them the decision ‘was taken collectively’.
For many months now, there have been rumours going around about the increasing possibility that the restaurant would lose its three stars following the death of Paul Bocuse two years ago.
Michelin, in search of publicity, has become more ruthless and constantly insisted that stars were never allocated for life but needed to be earned each year.
With a new kitchen that was installed earlier this year and a tweak to the menu which was called Tradition in motion, the team at Paul Bocuse were expecting to retain the three stars also because the restaurant is considered an institution.
The Paul Bocuse team issues a statement today thanking many who have expressed support following the news. “Your support is essential and comforting for our teams who work every day to retain the spirit and heart of Monsieur Paul. Together we are stronger and your support will help us to fight, something which Paul Bocuse would have wanted us to do.”
In the official statement, the restaurant says that they introduced a new menu called Tradition in Motion in October 2019. “It has been judged to be exceptional by many of our customers, gastronomy experts and journalists. It will make a new dimension when we reopen the restaurant on Friday 24 January.”
“Paul Bocuse was a visionary, an independent man, a force of nature and it is in this spirit that we will continue to work on the experience we’ve created in October 2019.”
A a visit to the restaurant in December 2018 had left me rather perplexed and opened many questions which must have also gone through the minds of Michelin when taking such a decision.
Paul Bocuse is a restaurant which every foodie needs to visit at least once. You could call it THE museum of gastronomy, a place you need to go to understand the history of French cuisine. That alone would make you think that it would fit into the definition of three stars. But at the restaurant, the service was sloppy. The first course, at that lunch arrived before the wine had been served. We were nearly half way into the first course when the wine was served.
The food is heavy, exceptionally heavy for what we are used to nowadays but can you expect or ask the team at Paul Bocuse to change that and lose authenticity and the reason why the restaurant is a culinary mecca?
And here lies the problem with Michelin. As the world of gastronomy has evolved beyond recognition, its three-star system is showing significant signs of age.
On social media, the backlash against Michelin has been quite strong with many suggesting that the guide would never had the courage to remove three stars while Paul Bocuse was alive.