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Michelin Guide awards 3-star ranking to remote island restaurant in France


A restaurant tucked away in a corner of the French island has scored a coveted three-star ranking in the latest edition of the Michelin guide, released on Monday.

La Marine is led by chef Alexandre Couillon, 47, who doesn’t hold back from the fact that his last name means “fool” in French.

Tasting his exquisite seafood and vegetables means traveling to the tiny island of Noirmoutier in the Bay of Biscay and then to the furthest reaches.

“It’s a perfect example of a meal worth traveling for,” tour leader Gwendal Poullennec told AFP.

Together with his wife, Celine, who runs the front desk, Couillon creates a “genuine and radiant” experience, he added.

La Marine became one of only 29 restaurants in France to receive Michelin’s top three-star ranking in the latest guide, which was unveiled at a ceremony in the eastern city of Strasbourg.

“It’s a star for both of us,” an emotional Couillon told the crowd as he accepted the award with his wife.

Last week, Michelin shockingly announced that Guy Savoy, repeatedly named the world’s best chef by global review aggregator La Liste, had downgraded his restaurant Monnaie de Paris to two stars.

Thirty-nine restaurants in the new guide received one star for the first time, while four others received two stars.

In recent years, France’s restaurant scene has spread across the country, away from its traditional centers in Paris and Lyon.

Only seven newcomers are located in the Greater Paris area. The Pays de la Loire had five new winners, while the northern Hauts-de-France region – once a gastronomic backwater – picked up four.

Like many of the most famous eateries of the moment, La Marine has a minimalist ambience and a menu guided by seasonal and local ingredients, much of which come straight from its fishing boats overlooking the harbour.

Couillon took over the family restaurant in 1999. He received his first and second Michelin stars in 2007 and 2013 respectively, and was named chef of the year by rival guide Le Gault et Millau in 2016.


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