French chef Sebastien Bras asks to drop Michelin stars

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French chef Michel Bras (R) at work with his son, Sebastien BrasImage source, AFP/Getty Images
Image caption,
French chef Sebastien Bras (L) at work with his father, Michel Bras

A celebrated French chef whose restaurant boasts three Michelin stars has asked to be stripped of the honour - because it puts him under "huge pressure".

Sebastien Bras's eatery Le Suquet, in the southern French village of Laguiole, won the dining guide's highest distinction in 1999.

It is one of 27 French restaurants in the elite three-star club.

Mr Bras wants to be dropped from the 2018 roster to "start a new chapter".

He told AFP the endorsement has brought him "a lot of satisfaction," but that he dreaded knowing Michelin testers could appear at any time.

"You're inspected two or three times a year, you never know when. Every meal that goes out could be inspected. That means that, every day, one of the 500 meals that leaves the kitchen could be judged," he explained.

The 46-year-old, whose restaurant is dubbed "spellbinding" in the Michelin Guide, hopes he will soon be able to present tantalising dishes "without wondering whether my creations will appeal to [the] inspectors".

"Maybe I will be less famous, but I accept that," he added.

Michelin has confirmed this is the first time a French chef has asked to be dropped, without considerably changing their business model.

The dining "Bible" said it would consider Mr Bras's request. But as the guide is designed for customers, not restaurants, Le Suquet will not be automatically removed.