Star Running Back

Here’s the problem with a Michelin star, apparently: Once you’ve got it, you worry about losing it. So one Spanish chef has decided to simply say thanks but no thanks. Joan Borràs, chef at Hostal Sant Salvador in northeast Spain, wrote a letter to the Michelin Guide last week announcing that he’d like to return the star his restaurant was awarded in 2006. Having the star had resulted in “[t]otal slavery, with enormous stress,” Borràs said, adding that his recent close brush with a brain tumor had made him decide to focus on enjoying life.

By the standards set by past chefs rejecting their stars, Borràs’s rebuff seems positively low-key. In 2005, Alain Senderens famously returned the three Michelin stars awarded more than two decades before to his Parisian restaurant Lucas Carton. He then closed the restaurant and reopened it as Alain Senderens, creating a less expensive, more casual dining spot with lower expectations for service (the old Lucas Carton had four waiters per table).

And after Marco Pierre White returned his three stars back in 1999 when he retired from the kitchen of the Oak Room, he lambasted the whole ratings system, calling it inconsistent and commercialized.

Borràs, on the other hand was more philosophical. The Michelin star is “the wish of all chefs,” he told El Periódico (note: Article’s in Spanish). “But you have to remember the price that has to be paid to keep it.”

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