Why Does This Chef Want to Ditch His Three-Star Michelin Rating?

Sébastien Bras appreciates the honor, but sees it as a curse.

Michelin stars are a coveted pinnacle of esteem for chefs — the pinnacle, you might say — but one chef who scooped up the guide's highest rating wants to give it back.

Indeed French chef Sébastien Bras is forsaking the three stars he earned for the restaurant he owns in the south of France, Le Suquet à Laguiole (130 miles northwest of Montpellier).

To the chef, the rating comes with a lot of expectations and pressures — too many, in fact. And he doesn't want them.

“This was a beautiful challenge and a source of great satisfaction... but there’s a huge pressure as a result of our three-star status, which we’ve held since 1999. Today, we want to proceed with a free spirit and without stress, to offer a cuisine and service that represents that spirit and our land,” Bras told Agence France-Presse.

The pressure is real — and it's quite serious.

French chef Bernard Loiseau killed himself in 2003, a tragedy reportedly related to the pressures related to maintaining his own Michelin rating.

Bras has run his restaurant for about a decade, after taking the helm from his father, renowned French chef Michel Bras.

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