Thursday 8 December 2016

Chef gives up his Michelin star to woo back diners

Henry Samuel in Paris

Published 21/06/2011 | 05:00

THE only Michelin-rated restaurant in the southern French city of Nimes has handed back its star to become a humble brasserie, in the hope of enticing customers who were put off by the higher prices that come with the accolade.

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Le Lisita received its first star from the restaurant guide in 2006.

But Michelin stars come at a price for chefs, as the guide expects a standard of service that requires more staff, pushing up the price of a meal.

Chef Olivier Douet said he had initially cherished the accolade but that the 2008 financial crisis had forced him into a painful rethink.

"I am not spitting in the soup -- to have a Michelin star is a distinction, a very important recognition of merit," he said.

However, he added that the demands of the gastronomic restaurant barely allowed him to break even.

Mr Douet told 'Le Parisien' newspaper: "In a starred restaurant, there is one waiter for five to six people. With a brasserie, a waiter can look after 20 to 30 customers."

He will now offer a menu with starter and plat du jour for €23.60, which he hopes will allow him to triple the number of clients.

Mr Douet had plans to expand his Michelin-starred establishment into a hotel project but "the bankers are scared to lend in a time of crisis to institutions like ours".

Le Lisita hopes to capitalise on a French fashion for affordable brasseries and "gastro bistros", which are doing a roaring trade along with "restauration rapide" -- the French take on fast food. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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