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The family behind a restaurant in Wales has asked to return the Michelin star it’s held since 2011, citing the strain the award has had on family life.
While a Michelin star is the ultimate accolade for many in the restaurant business, Stephane Borie, his partner Sarah Francis and her sister Kathryn Francis, the owners of The Checkers in Montgomery, have requested to return theirs and do not wish to be featured in the forthcoming Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland, which is due to be released on 1 October.
Speaking to the BBC, Ms Francis said the decision had been emotional, but the right one. She and her co-owners plan to relaunch The Checkers in November, as breakfast and lunch only, with luxury bed and breakfast accommodation, meaning they will have more time to spend with their families (all have children).
“It has been a joy to have the star and the most amazing news when we got it. It was great for trade and brilliant for the town,” she says. "But more for us, it's about taking the business in a new direction and putting our family first. It means we can work in the day and have our evenings to ourselves."
Can a Restaurant Return a Star?
Michelin will point out however that it is not possible to return a star, as it is the famous Red Guide’s decision as to whether or not a restaurant should be included.
However, earlier this year it respected the request of chef Sébastien Bras for his three-Michelin-star restaurant Le Suquet, in Laguiole, France to be withdrawn. Bras said the pressure of maintaining three star status was stifling his creativity.
Marco Pierre White, a famous Michelin-baiter having requested to return his three Michelin stars in the 1990s, recently took aim again, revealing in an interview that he had snubbed Michelin at his new Singapore restaurant.