Oops: Michelin Star Mixup Makes Working-Class French Bistro Famous

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BOURGES, France — Many chefs strive their entire careers to earn a star in the Michelin Guide, but a bistro and bar in France received the coveted award by mistake.

Michelin released its 2017 French guide earlier this month and one of the newest entries was Le Bouche à Oreille in Bourges, about three hours south of Paris.

The cheery restaurant has red plastic polka-dotted tablecloths and was crowded with workers in their uniforms when CNN affiliate M6 visited. It offers a lunch special that features a buffet of starters, entree, cheese or dessert and wine for €12.50 (about $13.25).

“I really thought it was a joke. But actually it was real,” owner Veronique Jacquet said. “My phone is ringing all day long, until late at night … it’s madness.”

But the star was intended for another, much fancier, restaurant with the same name about 120 miles away in the village of Boutervilliers.

Dinner there is going to set you back a bit more than 13 bucks.

The Michelin Guide tweeted out a correction last week.

Chef Aymeric Dreux at the Boutervilliers restaurant said he talked to Jacquet as soon as he found out about the mistake.

“I called the Bouche à Oreille restaurant to tell the owner it was fantastic and that I would love to book a table and discover her cooking.” he said. “She laughed and so did I, what a story.”

The Michelin Guide originated in France in 1900 and offers recommendations and ratings on restaurants around the world. It awards between one and three stars to its finest restaurants.

The lunch spot has gotten really good reviews on Google since the the Michelin list was announced, so diners don’t seem to have been disappointed by the mistake.


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