Ever heard of a person giving up his Nobel prize, rejecting his Oscar or pushing back his Pulitzer? Sounds like madness, isn’t it? Well, a renowned chef, Jerome Brochot did something similar recently. The 46-year-old chef decided to turn in his Michelin star, renouncing the uniquely French distinction that separates his restaurant from thousands of others, the lifetime dream of all chefs. The decision didn’t come as an act of arrogance or ingratitude but a heartbreaking story.
Brochot gave up this star because he could no longer afford it. As per a report in the New York Times, the chef had written to the Guide Michelin, the fat red gastronome’s bible in Paris that bestows the honour, to say he wanted out. He could no longer make ends meet at his bright orange hotel-restaurant Le France, he said. He could no longer pay for the personnel, produce the precision that go into charging one-star prices.
The decision also shows the poor state of business in the town. Unemployment is 21 percent in Montceau, according to the government’s statistics, more than twice the national average.
Getting a Michelin star is a big deal in France. Even though Japan has more three-starred restaurants, Michelin stars hold major cultural clout in a country that effectively prays at the altar of renowned, star-wielding chefs like Joel Robuchon.
This isn’t the first time when a news like this has come out. Earlier in the year, Sebastien Bras, a three-star Michelin chef, had decided to renounce the usually longed-for accolade and choose a simpler existence in the kitchen instead.
“I want to give a new meaning to my life … and redefine what is essential,” he had said in a Facebook video message. However, Bras had said that he still wants to cook but not quite so much of the fancy stuff and not under the pressure of constant scrutiny.