France is the land of fine cuisine. Accordingly, the Michelin restaurant guide makes waves every year with its honoring of star chefs. This year, a chef will be added that many know from a Netflix documentary.
47-year-old French chef Alexandre Couillon from the Atlantic island of Ile de Noirmoutier is France's new three-star chef. The famous Michelin restaurant guide published the list of excellent chefs in Strasbourg. Couillon stands for the trend towards regional and seasonal products. In his restaurant "La Marine" he uses fish from the Atlantic and home-grown vegetables.
Couillon is one of the few French chefs to have worked on the Netflix documentary series Chef's Table. He serves things like braised mackerel, beetroot with parsley foam and a dessert of crunchy buckwheat with caramel foam and candied oranges.
"This year there is a lot of dynamism in the regions," Gwendal Poullennec, head of the Michelin guide, told AFP. Out of 44 newly awarded restaurants, 37 are located outside of the greater Paris area, more than ever before. Eight restaurants were awarded a green star, which distinguishes particularly environmentally friendly restaurants.
A total of 39 restaurants received their first star, four restaurants their second. Couillon is the only new three-star chef. As a result, France now has 31 top chefs in this class, among them only one woman, Anne-Sophie Pic.
To avoid negative tones on the day of the awards, Michelin had announced the downgrading of two famous three-star chefs a week earlier. Guy Savoy and Christopher Coutanceau both lost their third star. Savoy has had three stars continuously since 2002 and has also been named the best chef in the world by La Liste six times in a row.
It was the first time since 2020 that Michelin downgraded three-star restaurants. In the world of fine dining, this was a thunderbolt. Two decades ago, three-star chef Bernard Loiseau took his own life amid rumors he could have lost his third star.
Michelin's ratings are based on incognito visits by its inspectors. The restaurant guide is an invention of the tire company Michelin, which wanted to use it to encourage its customers to drive their tires when visiting out-of-the-way restaurants.