Michelin celebrates 'cultural dynamism' of 62 newly starred French restaurants

The Michelin Guide unveiled its annual list of the best French restaurants Monday, praising the "cultural dynamism" of a new generation of chefs, though again honouring only a handful of women.

After a long period of resting on the laurels of its gastronomic reputation, France has seen a flourishing of new establishments in the last decade or so, absorbing international ideas and increasingly focusing on sustainability.

Two restaurants achieved the highest pinnacle of three stars at the annual ceremony, this year held in the Loire Valley city of Tours: Le Gabriel in Paris and La Table du Castellet in the southern Provence region.

A total of 62 restaurants were awarded at least one star -- most joining the Michelin ranks for the first time, including 23 that have been open for less than a year.

The Espadon at the Paris Ritz won a star for the innovative Africa-inspired cooking of chef Eugenie Beziat.

Reflecting the continued male dominance of the industry, Beziat was one of just six women earning a star.

"Hopefully I'm here to inspire (other women) but I don't have the answers. Everyone has a place in my kitchen as long as they work hard," she told AFP.

"It's a reality we deplore," he said, adding he remained hopeful about "the strong initiatives to promote talented young women."

'Age doesn't matter'

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