Most restaurateurs would swoon for a prized Michelin star. But when an unspecting bistro in central France got one last week by mistake, all the owner could do was throw up her hands as the crowds rushed in. "I'm drowning!" Veronique Jacquet tells Le Parisien. "I don’t have much space and there are only four waiters," she says via AFP. When the 2017 edition of the famous Michelin culinary guide appeared earlier this month, it awarded a single star (out of three) to Bouche à Oreille in Bourges, confusing the humble eatery with another of the same name 110 miles away in Boutervilliers near Paris. It took nearly a week to correct the error on the Michelin website, enough time for the staff at Bouche à Oreille (word of mouth) to get a taste of the big time.
Suddenly, flocks of well-heeled foodies were elbowing aside the working-class regulars to chow down on hearty classics like beef bourguignon and mussels with fries served atop red tablecloths with white polka dots. A plat du jour, dessert, and wine costs $13, a bargain compared to the bill at the elegant, white-linen namesake, where lobster flan, calf’s brain, and a crunchy pear and chocolate dessert will set you back $50. Starred chef Aymeric Dreux phoned his counterpart Penelope Salmon in Bourges to commiserate. "The whole thing made us laugh," he tells Le Parisien. Did Salmon regret the end of her brief tenure as a lauded chef? “No, not at all," she says. "I cook with my heart.” (This might be the best chef in America.)