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Michelin Guide 2013 stingy with restaurant stars

Arnaud Donckele of the restaurant La Vague d’Or in Saint Tropez earned his third Michelin star with the Monday release of the 2013 guide to the top tables in France, the only new three-star ranking to be included in the French listings.


Chef Arnaud Donckele reached the holy grail of gastronomy after Michelin awarded his restaurant, La Vague d’Or, a third star, with the release of its 2013 top tables guide on Monday.

The restaurant, housed in Saint Tropez’s Résidence de la Pinède on the French Riviera, is the only new top ranking in the France guide, bringing the number of members in the exclusive three-star club to 27.

Donckele’s cuisine has been described as Mediterranean-inspired, with an emphasis on locally-produced vegetables and citrus fruits.

And at 35-years-old, he is the youngest of the 27 chefs currently holding a three-star rating.

“He’s young, but he has an extraordinary past,” Michelin Guide’s International Director Michael Ellis told AFP.

His cooking shows "real character" and "a remarkable balance of flavours," Ellis said.

Honing his craft under the tutelage of culinary luminaries such as Michel Guérand, Alain Ducasse and Jean-Louis Nomicos, Donckele arrived at La Vague d’Or in 2005.

A Michelin-starred meal at the restaurant includes dishes such as baby lobster and John Dory in aspic, pearled and cooked in their natural sea water with grains of caviar and a verbena infusion, or Zitoni pasta filled with black truffle and foie gras, served with violet artichokes and flavored Thai basil.

The 2013 Michelin Red Guide awarded two stars to 82 restaurants in France, including five new restaurants, and one star to 487 restaurants, including 39 new names.

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.

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