In a statement given to French news agency AFP, Sébastien Bras (son of legendary French chef Michel Bras) said that he wanted to “open a new chapter in his professional life without the reward of the red guide but with just as much passion for cooking”.
Sébastien runs Le Sequet in Laguiole in Southern France. Opened in 1992, the restaurant won its third star in 1999 and has held it ever since. Sébastien took over from his father a decade ago.
Michelin has indicated that it won’t comply with the 46-year-old's request stating that it publishes a guide for diners, not chefs.
A member of Michelin’s executive committee told the French press that it was the first time that a chef had asked to not be featured in the guide. While this may be true, there is a long history of chefs attempting to hand their stars back to Michelin.
Marco Pierre White famously tried to hand back his three Michelin stars in 1999 citing both extreme fatigue and disillusionment with the guide’s rating system, specifically that its inspectors didn’t know enough about food.
Other chefs that have tried to hand back their stars include Spanish chef Julio Biosca of Casa Julio and Belguim chef Frederick Dhooge.
Sébastien added that he wants to be free to cook without the stress of world rankings and the fear of mystery inspectors. “You’re inspected two or three times a year, you never know when,” he told the AFP. “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.”