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Friday 22 August 2014

Michelin revoked my star because of insect menu, says French chef

Chef at Nice restaurant says he was docked Michelin star by food guide, which could not swallow his menu based on insects and worms

Henry Samuel, Paris

Published 19/03/2014 | 09:03

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David Faure (pictured) began serving crickets and mealworm in April last year at his Aphrodite restaurant in Nice, France Photo: Didier Baverel/ Getty

A well-known Riviera restaurant has lost its coveted Michelin star because the famed food guide turned its nose up at its highly un-French “alternative” menu based on insects, its chef has claimed.

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David Faure began serving crickets and mealworm in April last year at his Aphrodite restaurant in Nice, which in 2010 had been awarded a Michelin star - a sign of gastronomic excellence from the world’s most prestigious food guide.

But it appears the Michelin critics remained unimpressed by such dishes as “small square of peas, carrot foam and mealworms” and “crickets in a whisky bubble with cubes of French toast and pears”.

They revoked his only star in the 2014 edition of the “little red guide”, released last month.

“I don’t want to hide only behind the pretext of insects,” he told The Telegraph, conceding that he had gone through “a few difficulties with service as it’s very hard to find good staff in France”.

But he added: “We also know that we were the first starred restaurant in France to dare to create a menu based around insects, and at no time Michelin approached us to find out what exactly we were doing.”

Mr Faure created his insect menu after trips to Asia, where they are often served, to create a buzz but also to promote his belief in marrying nutrition, health and the environment. But he said he knew it would ruffle traditionalists’ feathers.

He said fellow chefs had warned him he was “mad” to use creepy crawlies and would surely lose his accolade.

However he insisted that the loss of his star would not deter him.

“I will not change my way of doing things,” he said. “I have always claimed to be a free chef who does not bow to any diktat, including the Michelin guide book.

Europe is the only continent that doesn’t eat insects. In 20 to 30 years time, there will be nine billion people on Earth and we need alternative food, so we’re opening people’s eyes for the future,” he said.

Mr Faure is not the only French chef to experiment with insects.

Last year Sylvain Musquar, a chocolate maker from Nancy, eastern France, started “sexing up” his chocolate squares by topping them with sugar coated crickets or maggots.

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