Scottish hotel turns its back on Michelin star

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Michelin star damages business says Boath House

Related tags: Michelin star, Michelin guide great, Michelin guide

Scottish country house hotel Boath House has followed one of France’s most high-profile chefs by asking to be stripped of its Michelin star.

The Matheson family behind the Nairn property, which has held a star for 10 years, told The Herald​ their fine dining offering had struggled financially and that diners preferred a more informal experience.

The expectations of the guide were ‘at odds with achievable profit margins’ and had brought them ‘enormous stress’, the Matheson’s said.

Last week one of France’s most high profile chefs, Sebastian Bras, asked Michelin not to include his restaurant Le Sequet​ in the 2018 guide as he had struggled with the pressure of maintaining the maximum three-star rating.

Shift to informal dining

The Boath House team do not know whether they have retained their star in the 2018 guide, which will be released on Monday, but have already changed their menu and will launch a ‘casual and rustic’ cafe next year.

“While we are extremely proud of the Michelin star we gained 10 years ago and it undoubtedly enhanced our reputation, our restaurant has consistently made a loss and the market has spoken,” Wendy Matheson told TheHerald.

“Diners no longer want waiters with white gloves, linen tablecloths and food cooked with many different aspects and technical detail.

“They want good local Scottish food and no stuffiness in the restaurant. If you have to explain to customers what is in the food then you have lost them.

“We believe the expectations from Michelin are at odds with achievable profit margins and put an enormous stress on a small family-run business like ours.”

Ongoing impact

In response to Boath House’s decision Rebecca Burr, editor of the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland, told the BBC​ there was ‘absolutely no formula for winning or retaining a Michelin star’.

“There has certainly been a trend towards more informal dining over the past 10 years or so, and in fact Michelin has been at the absolute forefront of recognising and celebrating that,” said Burr.

At a TMRW Project panel discussion this week,​ some of the UK’s top chefs admitted that Michelin continues to have a ‘huge’ impact on restaurants despite the lack of clarity about how it awards its stars.

The 2018 Michelin stars will be announced at a live event in Monday on 2 October.

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