Chef gives up his Michelin star to woo back diners
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.
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)