This French Restaurant Just Handed Back Its Michelin Star In Hopes Of Bringing Back Diners

le lisitaThe staff at Le Lisita

Photo: Le Lisita

The owners of  Le Lisita, a brasserie in the French city of Nimes, have just handed back their Michelin star in an effort to start filling the restaurant’s tables.It might seem backwards, but the restaurant says it was forced to hire more waitstaff to keep up with the service level expected of a Michelin-starred restaurant, which in turn drove prices up and customers away, The Telegraph reports.

From The Telegraph:

Le Lisita, opposite Nimes’ famous Roman arena, clinched its first star from the fabled red restaurant guide in 2006.

But Michelin stars come at a price for chefs, as the guide expects a standard of service requiring more staff, which pushes up the price of a meal even before ingredients are bought.

Chef Olivier Douet said he had initially cherished the coveted accolade but that the 2008 financial economic crisis forced him into a painful rethink.

By switching back to the brasserie format and decreasing the focus on service, Douet thinks he will be able to serve triple the number of customers and make ends meet.

Other French chefs are discovering the curse of the Michelin rating as well. A growing number are rejecting long-held Michelin standards and embracing “bistronomy,” a humbler form of fare served at lower prices, according to The Telegraph.

And food critics, initially slow to respond, are finally coming around.

From The Telegraph:

For François Simon, a leading food critic for Le Figaro, bistros have become “the principle axis of gastronomy” in France.

“It’s between brasserie and restaurant with very technical chefs who know very well how to do classic dishes with a dash of originality and above all at much more affordable prices.

“Chefs now ask themselves: ‘Do I shoot for the stars which is totally absurd and leads to a nervous breakdown? Do I want keep my wife and friends, or end up with a false blonde in 20 years?

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