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Giving up your single Michelin star


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#1 Rail Paul

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 09:06 PM

NYT has an article about chef Jerome Brochot's decision to return his single Michelin star for his restaurant in Montceau-les-Mines.  The down on its luck coal town is an example of "the other France" with high 21% unemployment, fleeing young people, and little hope for the future.

 

The chef has decided to switch over to hearty stews, throw back the sea bass, and operate with a leaner staff and simple ingredients.   Since this is  France, there's a discussion about his obligation to the working man, and his significant debts

 

 

 

https://www.nytimes....nav=bottom-well


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#2 Sneakeater

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 09:25 PM

Or he could move to New York, where you don't have to do all that fancy expensive stuff to get a Michelin star.


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#3 Rail Paul

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 06:04 PM

I suspect the same problem would happen if you opened a high end restaurant in a failing, shrinking rust belt town in the US. That's a reason the rare quirky place like Freedom in rural Maine gets so much attention.
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#4 voyager

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 08:27 PM

I suspect the same problem would happen if you opened a high end restaurant in a failing, shrinking rust belt town in the US. That's a reason the rare quirky place like Freedom in rural Maine gets so much attention.

Apt analogy.    Inland Maine at least has is quirky charms.   Monceau-les-Mines is simply an industrial town about which even Michelin says "0 tourist attractions".   Altho it has often been on our rat-track, we were never tempted to stay in town just to try Brochot's wares.    And country one-stars are a scary mix of hidden treasure and stuffed-shirt formality and pomposity.   AKA crapshoot.


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#5 Rail Paul

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 08:52 PM

 

I suspect the same problem would happen if you opened a high end restaurant in a failing, shrinking rust belt town in the US. That's a reason the rare quirky place like Freedom in rural Maine gets so much attention.

Apt analogy.    Inland Maine at least has is quirky charms.   Monceau-les-Mines is simply an industrial town about which even Michelin says "0 tourist attractions".   Altho it has often been on our rat-track, we were never tempted to stay in town just to try Brochot's wares.    And country one-stars are a scary mix of hidden treasure and stuffed-shirt formality and pomposity.   AKA crapshoot.

 

 

Thanks for the perspective.  

 

Although the French concerns with urban terrorism are well chronicled, the hollowing out of the industrial countryside is a topic which doesn't get much attention.

 

(My old boss graduated from a one room high school in rural South Dakota in 1950. He joked that they had their first reunion the next morning, when the 10 graduates met at the bus stop. Some went to Kansas City, others to Minneapolis or Watertown, etc. Nobody stayed behind.

 

Sounds like France isn't a lot different.)


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#6 voyager

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 09:09 PM

 

 

I suspect the same problem would happen if you opened a high end restaurant in a failing, shrinking rust belt town in the US. That's a reason the rare quirky place like Freedom in rural Maine gets so much attention.

Apt analogy.    Inland Maine at least has is quirky charms.   Monceau-les-Mines is simply an industrial town about which even Michelin says "0 tourist attractions".   Altho it has often been on our rat-track, we were never tempted to stay in town just to try Brochot's wares.    And country one-stars are a scary mix of hidden treasure and stuffed-shirt formality and pomposity.   AKA crapshoot.

 

 

Thanks for the perspective.  

 

Although the French concerns with urban terrorism are well chronicled, the hollowing out of the industrial countryside is a topic which doesn't get much attention.

 

(My old boss graduated from a one room high school in rural South Dakota in 1950. He joked that they had their first reunion the next morning, when the 10 graduates met at the bus stop. Some went to Kansas City, others to Minneapolis or Watertown, etc. Nobody stayed behind.

 

Sounds like France isn't a lot different.)

 

Indeed!    We stay in French homes throughout the countryside and the parental lament is the same almost everywhere, Pay Basque, Brittany, Languedoc.     They all have teenage children attending professional schools in (if they're lucky) nearby cities, and all expect their children to seek work in Paris or New York or....     If really lucky, one will stay in the area to take over the family business.    The flip side is that there is actually a labor shortage since the best and brightest have often moved out.   


It's not my circus,

not my monkeys.


#7 Orik

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 07:46 AM

Well, try to buy real estate in rural France and let me know how it goes.
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#8 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 01:11 PM

Depopulation of rural France/Spain/Italy etc has been a thing for a century.

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#9 Orik

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 01:52 PM

Hasn't rural France been repopulating for about 15 years now?


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#10 voyager

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 02:19 PM

Hasn't rural France been repopulating for about 15 years now?

Interestingly, many of the homeowners we meet are Brits, Belgian, Dutch and quite a few Parisians escaping city life.     Only a few real "locals".    Your timeframe also coincides with government programs that fostered the restoration of historic buildings and tourism through grants and loans.     It seems that one was required to use the restored property as guest facilities for a certain number of years before one could sell or stop hosting.    A good handful of the better places we have enjoyed have hit this time requirement and are now pulling out.   (There are some exquisite properties for sale if you have a taste and pocketbook for that sort of thing.)


It's not my circus,

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#11 Rail Paul

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 03:09 PM

I don't know the specific area mentioned in the article, but the description of an "1850s coal mining community, now fallen on hard times" and voyager's observations sound pretty grim.  Absent some natural resource (skiing, white water rafting, lovely pastoral scenery) I suspect this place wouldn't be high on country home purchasing lists.

 

Not unlike a few coal mining towns in southwestern PA and northern WV which haven't benefited from the Marrcellus natural gas. Lot of drugs, not much hope.


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#12 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 04:07 PM

Hasn't rural France been repopulating for about 15 years now?


I couldn’t find anything on the insee website

"This is a battle of who blinks first, and we've cut off our eyelids"