Paris (dpa) - The gastronomy guide Guide Michelin has awarded three top restaurants with a third star in the home country France. Among others, Christopher Coutanceau from the port city of La Rochelle, known for fish and sea specialties, rose to the top league in French gastronomy.

For decades, three stars have been top marks from Michelin and the dream of numerous top chefs. The top award also went to Kei Kobayashi from Paris and Glenn Viel from "L'Oustau de Baumanière" in Provence in southern France.

Kobayashi once described himself as a "Japanese who makes French cuisine". According to Michelin, he is the first Japanese to receive the top award in France. 29 top restaurants in France have the top grade, in Germany there are 10. A total of 628 restaurants in France either have one, two or three stars.

Bocuse restaurant loses star

Michelin had already announced before the industry spectacle that the "Auberge du Pont de Collonges" of the Pope Paul Bocuse, who died in 2018, lost its third star and will only have two stars in the future. This has led to great debates, because the Bocuse parent company near Lyon has had top marks continuously since 1965, and Bocuse has long been considered the incarnation of top French cuisine.

In the debate about the legacy of the kitchen legend, star chef Yannick Alléno called for more serenity. "Paul Bocuse would have rolled up his sleeves and fought again. Paul was a fighter," said 51-year-old Alléno of the German Press Agency. "It can happen that one day we are less in shape than on another day. It's just human."

The top kitchen is like top sport. "There are competitors every day, you have to be world champion every day," said Alléno. He runs two three-star hotels in his home country: one in the Ledoyen pavilion in Paris near the Champs-Elysées ("Alléno Paris - Ledoyen pavilion") and "1947" in the winter sports resort of Courchevel.

120 years of tradition

"Michelin stars are not inherited, you have to earn them," is a frequently repeated motto by the Michelin Guide Poullennec. He has been leading the "Guide rouge", as the guide is also known in France, since September 2018. Michelin already deprived three top-class restaurants of the top grade last year. The restaurant guide looks back on 120 years of tradition.

Bocuse died two years ago at the age of 91. He was one of the representatives of "Nouvelle Cuisine", a movement of young cooks at the time who wanted to dedust French cuisine. His colleague Marc Haeberlin once reported that even Bocuse had always been restless until the old age when the gourmet guide appeared.

For the first time, Michelin honored "Chefs", as top chefs in France are called, for their efforts for sustainable gastronomy.