(Adds quote from Michelin in fifth paragraph.)
Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Michelin today awarded a third star to one more restaurant in France, taking the total to 26 in the home of the guide, which drops further behind Japan for top- rated establishments.
The new accolade goes to Flocons de Sel, housed in a chalet in the mountains of Megeve, in the Rhone-Alpes region of southeastern France. Chef Emmanuel Renaut is known for modern seasonal dishes such as a mille-feuille made with vegetables.
“With an expanding array of culinary trends and a constant focus on ingredients, high standards of cooking and renovated interiors, the French restaurant industry is being revitalized and transformed,” Michelin said today in an e-mailed release.
Ten more restaurants were awarded a second star, taking the total to 83, and 58 gained their first, making 485. The 26 three-star total compares with 32 in Japan: 17 in the Tokyo region and 15 in the west of that country. Japan took the lead last year, when it had 26 three stars, versus 25 in France.
Flocons de Sel “has become an indispensable destination for lovers of mountain scenery and fine cuisine,” Michelin said.
The new two stars in France include two in Paris: Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, in the Mandarin Oriental hotel; and L’Abeille, in the Shangri-La, under chef Philippe Labbe.
Also in Paris, single stars go to Kei, Sola, La Truffiere, Le Diane, Le 39V, Le Lumiere, Cobea, Le Quinzieme-Cyril Lignac, Akrame, Shang Palace, and Les Tablettes de JL Nomicos. British chef Gordon Ramsay retains two stars for his restaurant in Versailles.
Le Jardin des Sens, in Montpelier, and La Madeleine, in Sens, drop to one star from two. Among venues losing their single stars, six are in Paris: Fogon, Jacques Cagna, Sensing, L’Angle du Faubourg, Le Passiflore and La Table du Baltimore.
Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey; two stars are for excellent cooking, worth a detour; one star denotes a very good restaurant in its category.
Various criteria are used for stars: food quality, preparation and flavors; the chef’s personality as revealed through the cuisine; value for money; and consistency over time and across the menu.
Seven restaurants in New York hold three Michelin stars: Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Daniel, Eleven Madison Park, Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, Masa and Per Se. The total for the U.S. is 10, with the French Laundry and Restaurant at Meadowood recognized in the San Francisco guide and Alinea in Chicago.
The total number of three-star restaurants for the whole of the U.K. is four: Fat Duck, Waterside Inn, Gordon Ramsay and Alain Ducasse.
Clermont-Ferrand, France-based Michelin is the world’s second-biggest tiremaker, after Bridgestone Corp. The company published its first guide in August 1900, distributed free of charge (until 1920) and intended for chauffeurs. France is the last of the 2012 national guides to be published.
The guide goes on sale on March 1.
Here are France’s three-star restaurants, with the town followed by the establishment’s name:
(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)
--Editors: Mark Beech, Jim Ruane.
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