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A century of stars for Michelin

THE revered Michelin Guide elevated just one restaurant to three-star status in its 100th edition released yesterday: Le Bristol, down the street from the French president's palace in Paris.

The guide, which began as an aid for French motorists, is celebrating a century of culinary tips by making itself available to iPhone users and with promotional offers such as tours of hallowed wine cellars in its starred restaurants.

The 2009 guide to France lists 548 restaurants, 26 of which garnered the top status of three stars. Le Bristol is the only new listing in that category. One three-star listing disappeared from the guide this year, Maisons de Bricourt.

Michelin stars, which can make or break careers and restaurants, are determined by anonymous inspectors who taste food, visit kitchens and check plates, cutlery, glasses and even bathrooms.

Several chefs have opted out of Michelin's system in recent years, saying the personal and financial investment needed only pays off for restaurants with a large and fast turnover.

Nine new two-star restaurants and 63 new one-star restaurants were announced in the latest version.

Last week, a French chef who twice won the maximum three stars said he was hanging up his apron. Marc Veyrat said he was still recovering from a skiing accident, and wants to spend more time setting up an eco-friendly restaurant and developing organic fast food.

The 58-year-old chef was awarded three stars for restaurants "L'auberge de l'Eridan" and the now-closed "La ferme de mon pere."

The Michelin Guide is published by the French tire company. From its start in France, it now publishes guides covering 22 countries.


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