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是什么让一位法国名厨放弃了米其林星级?

更新时间:2017-12-29 15:57:24 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Chef Gives Up a Star, Reflecting Hardship of ‘the Other France’
是什么让一位法国名厨放弃了米其林星级?

MONTCEAU-LES-MINES, France — It is like giving up your Nobel, rejecting your Oscar, pushing back on your Pulitzer: Jérôme Brochot, a renowned and refined chef, decided to turn in his Michelin star.

法国蒙索莱米讷——就像放弃诺贝尔奖、拒绝奥斯卡奖、归还普利策奖一样:声名远扬、厨艺高超的大厨热罗姆·布霍肖(Jérôme Brochot)决定,将自己获得的米其林星退回。

He is renouncing the uniquely French distinction that separates his restaurant from thousands of others, the lifetime dream of hundreds. But Brochot’s decision was not a rash one, born of arrogance, ingratitude or spite. Rather, it was for a prosaic, but still important, reason: He could no longer afford it.

他宣布放弃这个独具法国特色的荣誉称号。正是这个称号让他的餐厅有别于其他成千上万家餐厅,也是无数人毕生的梦想。但布霍肖的决定并不是因为傲慢、忘恩负义或恶意而草率做出的,而是出于一个平凡却又很重要的原因:他已经无力承担这个称号。

It is a drastic step that says everything about the crushing reality of “the other France” — the provinces where on average more than 10 percent of storefronts are vacant, the old jobs have gone, and the cafes are empty on cold mornings.

这个极端的举动充分说明了“另一个法国”的沉重现实。在那些省份,平均超过10%的店面空置,原有的工作机会消失,咖啡馆在寒冷的早晨空无一人。

Even in a region famed for its culinary traditions, this declining old mining town deep in lower Burgundy could not sustain a one-star Michelin restaurant. Brochot, a youthful-looking 46, had gambled on high-end cuisine in a working-class town and lost.

即使坐落在一个以烹饪传统闻名的地区,这个地处下勃艮第的古老矿业小镇也无力养活一家米其林一星餐厅。46岁的布霍肖看上去很年轻。在一个以工薪阶层为主的城镇,他把赌押在了高端餐饮上,然后输了。

In November, the chef wrote to the Guide Michelin, the fat red gastronome’s bible in Paris that bestows the honor, to say he wanted out. He could no longer make ends meet at his bright orange hotel-restaurant Le France, he said. He could no longer pay for the personnel, produce and precision that go into charging one-star prices.

11月,这位大厨写信给《米其林指南》(Michelin Guide),称他想退出。厚厚的红色《米其林指南》是巴黎美食家的圣经,也是米其林星级餐厅荣誉称号的颁发机构。布霍肖说,他已经无法维持亮橙色的酒店兼餐厅Le France的运转。他没有足够的钱来保证让餐厅可以收取一星餐厅价格的人员、出品和精准度。

“The economic situation here in the ex-mining basin is a disaster,” Brochot wrote to Michelin. “What I’m doing today, I’m not doing lightly, but because I have no other choice.”

“这个曾经的矿区经济形势一团糟,”布霍肖在写给《米其林指南》的信中说。“我今天这么做并不是鲁莽之举,而是因为我别无选择。”

Turning in one’s stars isn’t unprecedented, but it is rare. A handful of three-star chefs have done so over the years, crushed by the expense and pressures of maintaining their temples of gastronomy.

归还米其林之星并非没有先例,但很少见。多年来,只有少数三星大厨因为维持美食殿堂的开支和压力这么做过。

The most recent was Sebastien Bras in the central town of Laguiole last fall. But it is highly unusual for a more modest one-star, and particularly poignant in a place that has little else going for it.

距今最近的例子是今年秋天法国中部小镇拉吉约勒的Sebastien Bras。但对一家更低端的一星餐厅来说是极为少见的。在一个几乎没有其他吸引力的地方,这件事尤其令人心酸。

To step out of Brochot’s gleaming kitchen and immaculate, angular dining room is to wonder how he got here in the first place. It seems an extravagance in a faded industrial town whose glory days were 100 years ago, like the reproach perpetually thrown at France itself as a country living beyond its means.

走出布霍肖那锃光瓦亮的厨房和一尘不染、棱角分明的餐厅,你会觉得他能走到今天这个地步已经不可思议。这是一个业已衰落的工业小镇,它的辉煌停留在了100年前。在这里,布霍肖的餐厅看上去像一件奢侈品,就像法国这个国家本身,总是被指责在维持一种超出自己能力的生活水平。

The “for sale” signs on the worn pastel storefronts down Brochot’s street are faded with age. The few people hobbling about in the gloom of a chill December morning are bent over against cold and old age. “There will never be buyers here,” Brochot said outside a shuttered store that was for sale.

在餐厅所在的那条街道上,颜色淡雅的店面破旧不堪,“出售”招牌已随着时间的流逝而褪色。在12月的一个早晨,为数不多的几个人在萧瑟寒气中步履蹒跚。因为寒冷和上了年纪,他们都佝偻着腰。布霍肖在一家已经关门的待售店铺外面说:“这里永远不会有买家。”

A renowned tea salon, its windows clouded over, has been closed for two years. Residents’ faces are long, sad and unwelcoming. A cafe owner muttered a warning against citing its name. Under a leafless tree by the old industrial canal, a mournful 1905 monument pays tribute to the hundreds who died in the local mines over the decades.

一家著名的茶室门窗紧闭,已经关门两年了;居民的脸上一副闷闷不乐的神情,悲戚冷淡;一家咖啡馆的老板喃喃地警告不要公开咖啡馆的名字;在那条古老的工业运河旁边,有一棵光秃秃的树,树下是1905年为纪念几十年间死在当地矿上的数百人而建的一座纪念碑。

Unemployment is 21 percent in Montceau, according to the government’s statistics, more than twice the national average. But the coup de grâce for Brochot was the shuttering of four businesses in quick succession.

按政府统计数据,蒙斯奥的失业率为21%,比全国平均水平的两倍还高。但给布霍肖最后一击的,是短时间内连续四家企业关门。

“I said, ‘This is going to be complicated for us, with 200 people out on the street,'” the chef recalled.

“我说,‘我们接下来就会比较棘手了,一下子200人没了事做,’”布霍肖回忆道。

The population, around 18,000, has been in steady decline for years, and the last coal was pulled out of the earth nearly 20 years ago. Not much has happened since — except for Brochot.

镇上1.8万左右的人口多年以来都在持续下降,地下的最后一块煤大约在20年前就被挖了出来。在那之后,就没什么值得一提的事了——除了布霍肖。

It was 18 years ago that the chef, a local cattle farmer’s grandson who had studied cooking with French greats like Bernard Loiseau, who died in 2003, bet that there was just enough industry in the area to let him exercise his talents close to home.

18年前,这位当地养牛场主的孙子、曾跟2003年去世的贝尔纳·卢瓦索(Bernard Loiseau)等法国大厨学习厨艺的厨师还确信,当地会有足够多的生意,能让他在离家近的地方施展才能。

Six years later, he was awarded his first star by Michelin, “a star in a workingman’s town, what a beautiful symbol,” he wonderingly recalled.

六年之后,他被授予了第一颗米其林星,“工人小镇里的一颗星,多美的标志啊,”他醉心地回忆道。

“A starred restaurant at Montceau, workingman’s turf, now that really meant something,” Poli wrote. “One can only regret it.”

“蒙斯奥,工人的领地,有一家星级餐厅,这可是非同一般的,”佛洛朗丝·波利(Florence Poli)写道。“只能说真是可惜。”

The right-leaning mayor, Marie-Claude Jarrot, was furious. “He’s hurting the whole region,” she told the local paper. Jarrot did not respond to a request for an interview.

政治立场偏右的镇长玛丽-克洛德·雅霍(Marie-Claude Jarrot)勃然大怒。“他在损害整个地区,”她对当地的报纸说。雅霍没有回应采访要求。

But for Brochot, hundreds of thousands of euros in debt from a kitchen renovation, it was a question of self-preservation. With a top menu at $130 his goal of 60 diners a day was becoming more and more elusive.

但对于为重新装修厨房而欠下数十万欧元债务的布霍肖来说,这是一个自保的问题。在顶级套餐定价130美元的情况下,他越来越难以实现每天60位就餐者的目标。

“It’s been catastrophic for the last three years,” said Brochot, a quicksilver whirl of perpetual motion once he is in his chef’s whites.

“过去的三年就是一场灾难,”布霍肖说,一旦穿上厨师白衣,他就会变成一台不停走动忙碌的永动机。

Brochot’s strategy appears to be working. He has cut his prices and is offering a more down-to-earth cuisine of stews, including the classic blanquette de veau, and serving cod instead of the more expensive sea bass.

布霍肖的策略似乎起了作用。他压低了费用,提供了更亲民的炖菜,包括经典的白汁烩小牛肉,也会供应鳕鱼而非更加昂贵的海鲈鱼。

It had depressed him deeply, he said, to have to throw away costly bass and turbot, like gold even in France’s street markets, at the end of every sitting because his customers couldn’t afford it. “There was a lot of waste,” he said.

他说,每次就餐时间结束后,由于顾客买不起而要把即使在法国街市上也贵如黄金的鲈鱼和大菱鲆扔掉,让他深感沮丧。“浪费了很多东西,”他说。

“Since we changed the formula, we’ve gotten a lot more people,” Brochot said. Above all, the effect has been psychological. “In the heads of people, a one-star, it’s the price,” he said.

“自从改变了方式,我们有了更多的顾客,”布霍肖说。尤其是心理上的改变。“在人们心里,一星指的是价格,”他说。

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