Israeli chef Assaf Granit has made history in France: On Monday, his Paris restaurant, "Shabour," won a Michelin star, a first for an Israeli kitchen in the country.
The Michelin guide, widely acknowledged as the bible of gastronomy, published its annual French edition on Monday. Fifty-four establishments, including Granit's, received one star for the first time this year, and two restaurants received a second star for the first time.
"Shabour," which serves Israeli cuisine, opened in Paris in late 2019 and garnered much praise, but the Michelin star is the highest honor yet. Granit rose to fame with the "MachneYuda" restaurant in Jerusalem, and has become a television personality as well. He owns another Parisian restaurant, "Balagan," as well as three in London, including "Palomar," which has won a string of accolades.
"Shabour" has been a success virtually from day one. Last year, just two months after it opened, Forbes magazine chose it as the best restaurant in Paris and prophetically deemed it “a (Michelin) star in the making,” adding, “Every dish here is testimony to the chefs' inexhaustible inspiration.”
Michelin's decision to publish its guide this year, in which the coronavirus pandemic is still leaving its mark on humanity as a whole and the dining industry specifically, has stirred no small amount of controversy. In order to appease the public, Michelin announced that no restaurant has lost its star or its ranking, unless it closed or changed its concept. Due to closures or changes, over 10 one-star restaurants and 10 two-star restaurants were dropped from the guide, a new record for France.
Regardless, the guide said, every restaurant that won a star or kept its ranking did so because it earned it. Its decisions were based on the months of January to March 2020, before the virus erupted, and the summer months, between the first and second outbreaks.
Whenever lockdown restrictions eased, the inspectors cancelled their vacations so they could squeeze in as many visits as possible before the restaurants were forced to close again, said Gwendal Poullennec, the guide's international director.
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Reuters contributed to this report.