Michelin Guide 2024: New stars awarded to French Riviera restaurants

French cuisine is firmly back in the spotlight following the unveiling of the 2024 Michelin Guide on Tuesday, rewarding the efforts and excellence of 63 restaurants across the country with one, two or even three new Michelin stars. Among them is La Table du Castellet in the Var, whose 35-year-old Executive Chef has become the youngest ever in France to earn three Michelin stars – and he did it on his first try. 

Just over a decade after joining the kitchens of the five-star Hôtel du Castellet’s gastronomic restaurant, Fabien Ferré of La Table du Castellet has earned three Michelin stars in his first year as its new Executive Chef. This makes him France’s youngest ever tri-stellar chef.  

The accolade also makes La Table du Castellet one of just two restaurants in all of France to earn three stars in the 2024 edition of the famous gastronomy guide. The other is Le Gabriel in Paris’ eighth arrondissement. 

From the sublime setting of the restaurant, both inside and out, to the smiles and warmth of the service staff, the judges’ reviews are full of compliments for the restaurant, which is found near the Paul Ricard racing circuit.  

The dishes served by Ferré are described by one Michelin inspector as being “anchored in the Mediterranean”; the chef, who comes from a line of farmers and artisans, favours local produce and is a familiar face at the markets of Sanary sur Mer.

Fabien Ferré took over as Executive Chef of La Table du Castellet in 2023. Photo credit: La Table du Castellet

The desserts of this restaurant, created by Chef-Pâtissier François Luciano, are also honoured in the guide. Luciano is one of four pastry chefs based in the south of France to have been awarded a Prix Passion Dessert by the guide and his Nicaraguan chocolate, samphire and matured olive oil creation has been listed as a favourite among the judges.  

From countryside to cityscape 

Ferré’s mentor, Christophe Bacquié, from whom he inherited La Table du Castellet, also achieved a new distinction in the Michelin guide.  

The Mas Les Eydins, Bacquié’s latest venture with his wife Alexandra in the village of Bonnieux in the Luberon, earned two Michelin stars. The restaurant’s style matches its pure, bucolic setting and celebrates the innate charm of Provençal gastronomy.  

In the Parc National de Verdon, La Bastide de Moustiers added a green star to its one-star accolades. The cuisine here is an ode to Mediterranean produce sourced from its very own 2,000m2 garden, which is managed by two full-time staff.

La Bastide de Moustiers has added a green star to its one Michelin star. Photo credit: Coeur d’Affranchi

 A revival of French cuisine 

Almost half of the 50-or-so restaurants to be awarded their first Michelin star in this year’s edition are new openings and the guide’s judges have publicly lauded a “gastronomic explosion in France’s towns and cities”. 

Among them is ONICE in the port neighbourhood of Nice. The restaurant is the brainchild of an Italian-Argentinian couple, Lorenzo Ragni and Florencia Montes, who met while working at Mauro Colagreco’s three Michelin star Mirazur in Menton. 

ONICE on Rue Antoine Gautier in Nice has earned its first Michelin star. Photo credit: Amar Frames

Racines, a plant-based restaurant offering guests a “kitchen garden cuisine” enhanced with typical ingredients of the Côte d’Azur has also been awarded its first star. The restaurant, located on Rue Clément Roassal in Nice, is headed up by Chef Bruno Cirino.  

The Alpes-Maritimes’ third restaurant to claim a Michelin star is Mandelieu’s Bessem. Chef Bessem Ben Abdallah has worked under some of the finest chefs of his generation, including Michel Del Burgo, Marc Meneau and Pierre Gagnaire, but has finally achieved acclaim at this waterside restaurant under his own name.  

In Saint Tropez, La Terrasse – Cheval Blanc St-Tropez, the sister restaurant to the three starred La Vague d’Or, has also been recognised by the guide with a star. It is the premium lunchtime dining destination in the popular coastal town.  

Chefs’ awards 

Yannick Alléno of Pavyllon Monte-Carlo at the Hôtel Hermitage in Monaco has won the Prix Michelin du Chef Mentor. He is described in the guide as “a true reference in modern French gastronomy, an outstanding creator particularly committed to the transmission of his knowledge”.  

Alongside La Table du Castellet’s Luciano, other pastry chefs of the region to be recognised for their talents are: Patrick Mesiano of Les Ambassadeurs by Christophe Cussac, the Hôtel Métropole’s flagship restaurant that has earned two stars within a year after opening; Julieta Canavate of Ceto in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin; and Pierre-Jean Quinonero of Le Cap in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Read related:

Michelin Guide 2024: Les Ambassadeurs by Christophe Cussac earns two stars in its first year


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Photo source: La Table du Castellet, Facebook