Gaining a coveted Michelin star is a big deal, but losing one is even more dramatic: It can cause chefs disastrous financial losses (usually on the order of 30 percent), not to mention psychological distress (witness Bernard Loiseau’s 2003 suicide amid nasty rumors that his restaurant was going to lose its third star). So now a French insurance company is capitalizing on the fear of star-loss by offering special coverage for potential downgrades, the London Times reports.

The company, C&D Assurance, offers a payout of €25,000 (about $33,650) to de-starred chefs—a sum that it says “is meant to fund the cost of hiring a public relations consultant to restore the establishment’s reputation.”

The article doesn’t mention how much the policy costs in the first place, but at least one starred chef is skeptical:

Nicolas Le Bec, a two-star chef from Lyons, said he would refuse the insurance. “If I lose a star, I’d only have myself to blame,” he said. “I don’t need an insurance for that.”

I’m inclined to agree—just look at Marco Pierre White, who (voluntarily) lost three stars and probably makes more money now than he ever dreamed he would behind the stove. But perhaps things are different when you’ve got everything riding on one restaurant. I wonder who’ll be the first to sign up …

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