Tuesday 23 January 2018

Café swamped after mistakenly winning Michelin star

Le Bouche a Oreille in Bourges is just a humble café bar
Le Bouche a Oreille in Bourges is just a humble café bar

David Chazan

A workmen's café in central France was overwhelmed with phone calls from gourmet diners wanting to book tables after it was awarded a Michelin star - by mistake.

Reporters, television crews and prospective customers were astounded when they turned up at the Bouche a Oreille, in the small town of Bourges, to find a cheap, cheerful eaterie with red-and-white polka-dot plastic tablecloths.

Many patrons wear high-visibility vests at the venue, and it is often packed at lunchtime. The atmosphere is lively, with customers ordering beers at the bar. It serves its regular clientele of local tradesmen plain - if undeniably wholesome - dishes such as homemade lasagne and beef bourguignon.

The Michelin Guide soon phoned up to apologise, explaining that it had confused the cafe with a more refined establishment of the same name near Paris. It was, perhaps, an understandable mistake, as their addresses are remarkably similar. One is on a street named Route de la Chapelle, the other on Impasse de la Chapelle.

Not only did the error bring the café publicity that it had never enjoyed before, but it also saw the staff invited for a genuine Michelin-standard dinner at the other Bouche a Oreille, 160km away.

Veronique Jacquet, the café owner who works behind the bar, said: "Suddenly we were rushed off our feet. Reporters were coming in and then my son phoned me from Paris, where he lives. He almost died laughing.

"I had friends phoning up and asking why I hadn't told them we'd won a Michelin star."

"This place is worth not just one but two stars," a satisfied customer said. Another said: "We like it as it is. They shouldn't change a thing, star or no star." (©Daily Telegraph, London)


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