Log In / Join Now

French Restaurants' Stars Rise and Fall with Release of 2007 Michelin Guide

New Red Guide's highlight is chef Anne-Sophie Pic, the only female currently holding a three-star rating

Laurie Woolever
Posted: February 23, 2007

French chef Anne-Sophie Pic has been working since 1992 to regain the third Michelin star that her family's restaurant, Maison Pic, lost following the death of her father. This week, the pages of the just-published 2007 Michelin Guide for France revealed that Pic has finally achieved that goal. Pic is just the fourth French female chef in the Guide's history to have earned a three-star rating (the first were Eugenie Brazier and Marie Bourgeois, in 1933, and Marguerite Bise, in 1951), and the only one who currently enjoys the honor.

Three Parisian chefs have also been awarded a third Michelin star: Frederic Anton, of Le Pre Catelan; Pascal Barbot, of L'Astrance; and Yannick Alleno, of Le Meurice, which was designated a "Rising Star" restaurant in 2006. In addition, Jacques Lameloise of Maison Lameloise, in Burgundy, saw his third star returned to him after having one revoked by Michelin in 2005. Seven restaurants were promoted from one-star to two-star status, including Joël Robuchon's eponymous establishment in Monaco.

Of course, each year, some chefs experience the loss of one or more hard-earned stars. In the 2007 Guide, Wine Spectator Grand Award winner Taillevent, under chef Alain Soliveres, was stripped of its third star, originally earned in 1973. Chef Philippe Legendre and Parisian restaurant Le Cinq, another Grand Award recipient, also suffered the loss of one of its three stars. Former three-star establishment La Ferme de Mon Pere, which was sold by owner Marc Veyrat in 2006, was also demoted from three to two stars, as were Buerehiesel and L'Esperance, which is reportedly in a state of bankruptcy.

For just the second year, Michelin has also included a selection of superior "guesthouses" among its ratings, as an alternative to hotels. For the first time, a guesthouse, La Ferme Hégia, has been given a Michelin star for the quality of its cuisine. Said Marie-Bénédicte Chevet, a Michelin representative, "La Ferme Hégia is in the southwest of France, in the Pyrenees … the view is fantastic, mountains everywhere. The food is based on the products that the chef buys in the market every day."

Michelin has published its Red Guides to restaurants and lodgings since 1900, as a service to the tire company's customers. Originally given for free to motorists, the guides now represent over 16 billion euros in annual sales. In 2005, Michelin began publishing a guide for New York restaurants. The company added a guide for San Francisco and Northern California in 2006; industry insiders predict that Chicago will be the next U.S. city to be reviewed.

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.