It must have come as quite a shock to Véronique Jacquet, owner of Le Bouche à Oreille, a workmen’s bar and eatery in the small French town of Bourges, when her establishment was suddenly invaded by customers wanting to make reservations and reporters trying to interview her.
Unbeknownst to her, the establishment, which usually serves lunch to construction workers, had been awarded a Michelin star by mistake. ‘Suddenly, we were rushed off our feet. Reporters were coming in and then my son phoned me from Paris, where he lives. He almost died laughing. I had regulars and friends phoning up and asking why I hadn’t told them we’d won a Michelin star.’
The error – which was corrected a few days later on the Michelin website – is forgivable. It turned out that that Michelin star was meant for a fancier restaurant of the same name: Le Bouche à Oreille, which, despite being located 100 miles away in Boutervilliers, near Paris, has a similar address.
Far be it from us to question the culinary capabilities of Madame Jacquet’s cook, but we can’t help feeling that some people were left a little star-struck by the incident. One regular customer interviewed on French TV said: ‘This place is worth not just one but two stars.’ The cook, Penelope Salmon, admitted that she’d never even dreamed of winning a Michelin star, but added: ‘I put my heart into my cooking.’
Aymeric Dreux, the chef of the pricier restaurant of the same name also took the mixup in good humour. ‘I phoned Madame Jacquet in Bourges,’ he told the Daily Telegraph. ‘We had a good laugh about it and I invited her to come to the restaurant to sample what we do. If I’m in her neck of the woods, I’ll pop in for lunch and a beer at her place.’
In addition to having provided some good free publicity to Madame Jacquet’s restaurant, Michelin invited her and her employees to a luxury dinner at the other Bouche à Oreille to apologise for the error.