The Reason Sébastien Bras Rejected His Michelin Stars

Since the 1920s, the Michelin Guide has been awarding stars to fine dining restaurants of note (via the Micheline Guide website). Many chefs work their entire careers in hopes of earning a Michelin star, the top honor in the culinary world, according to Discover.Luxury. Even for chefs who have earned Michelin stars, losing them can be a devastating and emotional experience — Gordon Ramsay cried when he lost his stars. However, not all chefs seem to agree that Michelin stars are worth the effort, and there seems to be a growing trend of chefs actually refusing or returning their Michelin stars.

This is despite the fact that Michelin stars are actually awarded to the restaurant and not the chef. As Michael Ellis, Michelin's International Director explained to Vanity Fair, it's not possible for chefs to return a star: "You can agree with it or you cannot, but you can't give it back." However, there has been one instance where Michelin Guide actually agreed to a chef's request to return his stars.

Michelin Guide agrees to Sébastien Bras' request to remove Le Suquet

Located in southern France, Le Suquet was founded by Sébastien's father, Michel Bras, and earned three Michelin stars in 1999, one of only 27 restaurants in France at the time with that honor, notes the BBC. Sébastien Bras made big news in 2017 when he requested that Le Suquet be removed from the guide, citing the pressure that came with the stars: "We want to proceed with a free spirit and without stress, to offer a cuisine and service that represents that spirit and our land" (via Eater).

Perhaps even more surprisingly, Michelin Guide actually agreed to the request, and removed Le Suquet from its 2018 guide, only to add it back in 2019, with just two stars. It was a disappointment for Sébastien Bras, who explained to Fine Dining Lovers how he had been happier in the kitchen without the pressure of the stars, being able to focus more on the "local products and terroir." In a responding statement, Bras stated, "This contradictory decision has left us with doubts, even if in any case we no longer worry about either the stars or the strategies of the guide" (via France 24). The stars may have been too restrictive, but it no longer matters if you stop caring about it altogether, as Bras seems to have done.