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New chef joins three-star club

Michelin's latest guide fêtes Arnaud Lallement, while 2013 Top Chef finalist Florent Ladeyn is also honoured

A NEW chef has joined Michelin’s exclusive ‘three-star club’.

Arnaud Lallement, of L'Assiette Champenoise, near Reims, was unveiled as the country’s latest three-starred chef when the 2014 Michelin Guide was published earlier today.

He is one of 27 chefs in France to boast the highest accolade the guide can award. The guide says that these chefs “offer exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”.

The 39-year-old son of a former Michelin-starred chef, who lives above the kitchen of his family restaurant, described the news as “a dream”.

It caps a remarkable few months for Mr Lallement, who has already been named chef of the year for both the Gault et Millau and the Champérard guides.

Other notable entrants into the 2014 guide include Florent Ladeyn, a finalist in last year’s Top Chef reality show on French free-to-air broadcaster M6. The young chef, who runs L’Auberge du Vert Mont, in Boeschepe, in the Nord department, was awarded his first star.

Meanwhile, 25-year-old Oscar Garcia, of la Table d'Uzès in Gard, was also awarded a star.

Few events are more keenly anticipated in France than the release of the restaurant guide.

This year, the guide’s publication has been brought forward a week from its usual March date.

But controversy has surrounded the publication of the guide this year.

Last Monday, food critic Gilles Pudlowski leaked the decision to award Mr Lallement three stars in popular magazine Le Point.

In a short column, he accused the Guide of having “lost the plot” and attacked its directors for a number of "bizarre" choices that, he says, favour young chefs.

"There's nothing wrong with (recognising young chefs)," said Pudlowski. "But is that any reason to forget to crown the unchallengeable chefs?"

He also criticised the Guide for allowing Alain Ducasse to retain his three stars for Le Meurice, even though the restaurant is currently closed.

Photo:Pablo Monteagudo

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