For the first time, the Michelin escaped from Paris: its guide ceremony France took place on March 22 at the L’Avant-Scène theater in Cognac (Charente). “80% of stars in France are located outside the Paris region”, justifies Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin guides. This relocation project already planned for 2021 had been thwarted by Covid-19 and will continue in the years to come, responding to Bibendum’s desire to “reflect the diversity of the terroirs and highlight the work of the producers”.
Two hundred chefs made the trip and attended the coronation of two Norman forties, Arnaud Donckele and Dimitri Droisneau, the only three-stars of this promotion. The first won the timpani only six months after the opening of the Plénitude restaurant, nestled in the Cheval Blanc hotel in Paris which belongs to the luxury group LVMH. The second is self-employed; he took over the Villa Madie in Cassis (Bouches-du-Rhône) in 2013, with his wife Marielle Droisneau who officiates in the dining room.
If the small world of gastronomy speculated on the number of macaroons that Arnaud Donckele was going to win, the consecration of Dimitri Droisneau is a surprise. Discreet and sedentary, he does not show himself on television and only talks about work on Instagram. Past by the furnaces of Bristol, Lucas Carton and Bernard Pacaud, he “has a subtle, striking cuisine, an ode to the South”says the guide.
This year, no waves. The entire French territory is represented. The Michelin rewards stars in the sector (Hélène Darroze, Anne-Sophie Pic, Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Ducasse, Gilles Goujon), but also former “Top Chef” who have made their mark (Victor Mercier, Guillaume Pape, Matthias Marc) and less media-oriented chefs whose talent and involvement are beyond doubt (David Bizet, Julien Dumas, etc.). In this last category, some such as Alexandre Couillon or Alexandre Gauthier still stagnate at two stars, upsetting the forecasts and allowing Michelin’s detractors to criticize the eternal opacity of its choices.
On the side of the stars removed, nothing likely to cause an earthquake as was the case in 2020 when Bocuse had been demoted. The downgrades are mostly linked to closures or changes in concept, such as at the Plaza Athénée. Alain Ducasse had obtained three stars there, his successor Jean Imbert only gets one for the moment. The most surprising element of this selection is the absence of women, who are only three among the 49 new officers: Hélène Darroze (in Provence), Anne-Sophie Pic (in Megève) and Alessandra Del Favero (in tandem with Oliver Piras in Paris). “Even though there are many women in restaurants, few hold positions of responsibility in the kitchen. We deplore it. But the role of Michelin is to evaluate experiences, not to set quotas.believes Gwendal Poullennec.
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