Cafe awarded Michelin star by accident

By David Chazan

Customers were surprised to find a cheap and cheerful diner.
Customers were surprised to find a cheap and cheerful diner.

A workmen's café in central France was overwhelmed with gourmet customers and TV crews after it was awarded a Michelin star - by mistake, it later turned out.

Prospective customers were astounded when they turned up at the Bouche à Oreille, in the small town of Bourges, to find a cheap and cheerful eatery with red and white polka dot tablecloths, serving a fixed price lunch menu with homemade lasagna or beef bourguignon for about €10 (NZ$14.80).

The Michelin Guide apologised, saying it had confused the café with a more refined establishment of the same name near Paris. The listing was changed on its website, but not until two days later.

Véronique Jacquet, who runs the café, said it had a regular clientèle of local tradesmen. "Suddenly, we were rushed off our feet. Reporters were coming in and then my son phoned me from Paris, where he lives. He almost died laughing."

The other Bouche à Oreille, in Boutervilliers near Paris, offers linen tablecloths and dishes such as calf's brain, lobster flan and chocolate pear crisp, with a €48 menu including a glass of champagne.

Aymeric Dreux, the chef, said: "I phoned Madame Jacquet in Bourges. We had a good laugh about it."

Mrs Jacquet's cook, Penelope Salmon, said she had never dreamed of winning a Michelin star, but added: "I put my heart into my cooking."

Claire Dorland-Clauzel of Michelin told Le Parisian newspaper: "We apologised to the two establishments and we are sorry to have misled our clients."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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