Why Losing A Michelin Star Can Be 'Dangerous' For Some Chefs

Those familiar with Michelin star restaurants or those who have watched shows like Netflix's Chef's Table, are likely aware of the painstaking care chefs of such establishments take. While earning a star can be a sign of great achievement, it is also a massive burden, according to CNN. Though many chefs and their teams have worked diligently to earn stars, they must maintain that same level of work to maintain it — not to mention level it up if they want to gain more stars (via Truly Experiences). 

Michelin stars are awarded based on creativity, value, quality, skill, and consistency. Any single element of that grading criteria that is compromised can cause a restaurant to lose a star and not even celebrity chefs are safe from this. Gordon Ramsay at The London, lost both of its stars due to a lack of consistency (via Eater). Losing a star can really damage a restaurant because it signals a fall from a high standard, though customers usually don't know which standard. So, it can easily drive business away, as easily as gaining the star can bring customers in.

Many chefs are turning away from Michelin stars

Raymond Blanc of Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, a Michelin two-star restaurant, spoke to the process of gaining or losing stars (via Truly Experiences). He said, "it can destroy a lot of young people's lives – those who make the guide the only purpose of their quest for excellence. That is dangerous. To lose a star is as dangerous as it is rewarding to gain a star."

This, along with a desire for less stress and the concept of cooking for the customer, are driving many chefs to turn their backs to the Michelin stars. Some, such as Sébastian Bras, have even asked to be excluded from the Michelin Guide, per CNN. Others like Magnus Nilsson have voluntarily closed their starred restaurants, while other chefs have even sued Michelin for awarding or removing stars. Ultimately, many have chosen to open up more relaxed restaurants to alleviate the pressure of living up to the Michelin star system.