Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Michelin today awarded a third star to the restaurant of 35-year-old chef Arnaud Donckele in St. Tropez, the only new top ranking in the volume for France.
The award for La Vague d’Or at Residence de la Pinede takes to 27 the number for the gastronomic guide’s home country. Five establishments gained a second star, for a total of 82. There are 39 first stars, increasing that tally to 487.
“Arnaud Donckele’s cuisine provides diners with a unique, unforgettable experience,” Michael Ellis, international director of the guides, said in an e-mailed release. “His fish dishes are highly original and he has personally sought out local producers to find the highest quality ingredients.”
Donckele, who arrived in St. Tropez in 2004, received his second star in 2010. He was trained by Michel Guerard and Alain Ducasse, and was formerly assistant to Jean-Louis Nomicos at Lasserre in Paris, according to the hotel’s website.
The new two-star restaurants are: Yoann Conte, in Annecy; La Table du Kilimandjaro, in Courchevel; William Frachot, in Dijon; La Marine, in Ile de Noirmoutier; and Auberge du Pont d’Acigne, in Rennes.
In Paris, there are new single stars for La Dame de Pic; Le Sergent Recruteur; Itineraires; 114 Faubourg; La Cuisine au Royal Monceau; Il Carpaccio; and L’Instant d’Or.
The total of 27 restaurants with three stars means France has caught up with Japan, where Michelin awarded top ranking to 15 establishments in the Tokyo area and 12 in the west of the country.
Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey; two are for excellent cooking, worth a detour; one denotes a very good restaurant in its category.
Michelin & Cie, the world’s second-biggest tiremaker, produced its first guide in 1900. It was free of charge until 1920 and intended for chauffeurs. The volume contained practical information, including street maps and tips on repairing tires. The company is based in Clermont-Ferrand, France.
(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.)
Muse highlights include: Mark Beech on music, Martin Gayford on London exhibitions, Catherine Hickley on art restitution and Jorg von Uthmann on Paris culture.
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