Food by VICE

What Happens When Your Restaurant Is Accidentally Awarded a Michelin Star

It happened last week to a tiny cafe in France.

by Phoebe Hurst
20 February 2017, 1:56pm

Photo via Flickr user City Foodsters

Many chefs dream of one day earning a Michelin star. Those who manage to achieve the esteemed culinary award often do so after years spent enduring hot, cramped kitchens, hectic dinner services, restaurant critic scrutiny, and countless mandolin injuries.

Not at Bouche à Oreille in Bourges, France. When Michelin France released its 2017 guide last week, the small cafe—which serves 12-Euro beef Bourguignon on plastic tables—found that it had been awarded a star.

Well, kinda.

The award was actually an error on the Guide Michelin France website. Judges had accidentally listed the details of Bouche à Oreille in Bourges, rather than a fine dining restaurant of the same name in Boutervilliers, 180 kilometres away near Paris. The officially Michelin-starred Bouche à Oreille serves lobster flan, calf's brain, and Champagne for around 48 Euros.

READ MORE: Opening Your Own Restaurant Is More Rewarding Than Michelin-Star Cooking

While the printed Michelin guide and the mobile app gave the correct address details for Bouche à Oreille, it took the publishers nearly a week to correct the error on the website. In the meantime, customers rammed into the tiny Bourges Bouche à Oreille, hoping to get a cheap Michelin-starred meal.

Owner Veronique Jacquet told French newspaper Le Parisien: "We're swamped, "I don't have much space and there are only four waiters."

Michelin has since apologised for the error and corrected the listing on its website. Luckily, Aymeric Dreux, the chef who had been awarded the Michelin star, seemed to see the funny side. He told the newspaper: "It was a little boo-boo that caused no harm and was corrected. "I called [Jacquet] in Bourges. The whole thing made us laugh."

Meanwhile Penelope Salmon, the erroneously awarded chef at Bouche à Oreille in Bourges, has no ambitions of claiming a Michelin star. She told Le Parisien: "I cook with my heart."