In an unprecedented move, the Michelin guide allowed a three-star chef to withdraw his restaurant from its prestigious listings on Tuesday. Sebastien Bras had announced in September that he didn't want Le Suquet restaurant in southern France to figure in the guide anymore because of the huge pressure involved. Michelin said that it granted the 46-year-old Bras' request, and that his restaurant wouldn't be listed in the 2018 edition of the guide to be unveiled next week. In a statement to the AP, Bras praised Michelin for the move and said he would still be seeking "excellence." "Other chefs had relinquished their stars because they retired, or because of a concept change at their restaurant," Michelin spokeswoman Samuelle Dorol told the AP. "But It's the first time a chef asked us to be removed from the guide."
Le Suquet was among the 27 French restaurants holding three stars in the 2017 guide, and had held the three-star rating for 18 years. According to Michelin, holding three stars doesn't necessarily involve increased pressure because guide inspectors are giving their ratings based on five criteria that don't include layout and service. "It's all about the quality of the ingredients used, the mastery of flavors and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef, the value for money and consistency between visits," Dorol said. But Bras seemed to view it differently, per these comments to the AFP picked up by the BBC: "You're inspected two or three times a year, you never know when. Every meal that goes out could be inspected. That means that every day one of the 500 meals that leaves the kitchen could be judged."