Culture & Society Czech Republic News

Czech PM’s restaurant in southern France loses Michelin star

Prague, Czech Republic – The upscale Paloma restaurant located on the French Riviera and owned by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has just lost one Michelin star.

Czech PM Andrej Babis’ French restaurant loses Michelin star

According to several French outlets, including Nice-Matin and Les Echos, as well as Czech media, the Paloma restaurant lost one of its two Michelin stars in the 2019 edition of the world-famous Michelin Guide, released in France earlier this year.

Located in Mougins, a small town a few kilometers north of Cannes on the French Côte d’Azur, Paloma opened over five years ago and is named after the daughter of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, who resided in Mougins for some time.

Legally, the luxurious French restaurant is owned by SynBiol Group, of which Babis was the sole shareholder before transferring his holdings in a trust fund in 2017 to comply with a new Czech anti-conflict of interest legislation.

A sister restaurant in Prague

Helmed by chef Nicolas Decherchi, the Paloma restaurant received its first Michelin star in 2014, half a year after opening, and the second one two years later. As of January this year, the establishment has been downgraded back to a one Michelin star restaurant. Reacting to the loss on social media, the restaurant said that it heard the news “with great sadness” but that they “accept the decision of the [Michelin] guide, to which [they’ll] listen with the utmost attention to come back stronger”.

In November 2017, Andrej Babis opened a sister Paloma restaurant in Průhonice, a district in the south-east of Prague. Part of a boutique hotel located next to the beautiful Průhonice castle, the upscale restaurant’s interior was designed by the Czech Prime Minister’s wife, Monika Babišová.

What are the Michelin stars?

The story of the Michelin stars dates back to the late 19th century, when André and Edouard Michelin founded their eponymous tire company in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand. A few years later, the two brothers came up with the idea of creating a handy guide to help travelers in their wanderings, containing maps on where to fill up on petrol for instance, and a listing of places to stay and eat for the night.

This ‘Guide Michelin’ introduced its first star system in 1926, originally allocating only a single star to fine dining establishments. Ten years later, the current hierarchical system, ranging from one to three stars, was introduced, marking the birth of the now world-famous and most sought-after star system for restaurants all around the world.

After the release of the 2019 edition of the Michelin Guide, more than 3.000 restaurants are now part of the network of Michelin-starred establishments. France alone counts over 500 one-star restaurants and 85 two-stars venues, while a select panel of 27 establishments has received the prestigious distinction of three Michelin stars.