UK restaurant The Checkers gives back its Michelin star

A Michelin star may be seen as the ultimate goal for many restaurants, but the owners of a fine dining venue...

Posted: Sep 27, 2018 5:11 PM
Updated: Sep 27, 2018 5:11 PM

A Michelin star may be seen as the ultimate goal for many restaurants, but the owners of a fine dining venue in the UK are turning their back on theirs to focus on family life.

The rural Checkers restaurant, which serves classic French cuisine near the town of Montgomery, Wales, has held a Michelin star for seven years, thanks to the efforts of partners Stéphane Borie and Sarah Francis, and Sarah's sister Kathryn Francis.

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Fine dining

Food and beverage industry

Food and drink

Restaurant and food service industry

Restaurant industry

Restaurants

Families and children

Family life

Society

Continents and regions

Europe

Northern Europe

United Kingdom

Raising five kids between them, the team says they now want family to come first.

"We have taken the bold (and slightly scary, exciting and possibly bonkers) decision to take a step away from our Michelin star roots," they posted on The Checkers Montgomery Facebook page on September 25.

The threesome call themselves "the Frenchman and the farmers daughters." This fusion of their backgrounds and experiences has made The Checkers a successful staple of the Michelin Guide since 2011.

New direction

"We thought long and hard about taking our business in a new direction, having a star is the ultimate benchmark of our trade and we have treasured ours for seven years," Kathryn tells CNN Travel.

"But it was time to take a new direction -- one that frees Stéphane up to do more freelance and private work and one that made having our own business a little more family friendly."

It's not the first time a Michelin-starred restaurant has stepped away from the limelight.

In October 2017, Restaurant Andre, a top Singaporean dining spot, returned its two Michelin stars. Chef-patron Andre Chiang wrote a letter to the press explaining that he had decided to focus on education and cooking at his RAW (Taipei) restaurant.

In September 2016, French chef Sébastien Bras also asked Michelin to take away his 3 stars.

The latest rejection of the Michelin accolade will likely rekindle debate about the pressure and long working hours faced by chefs, particularly those feted by the French tire company's guidebook.

"I think pressure on restaurants comes in many forms -- escalating food costs, hours, business rates," says Kathryn.

But she insists her team only ever felt positively about their star.

"We have huge respect for what a star stands for and it was important for us to let guide know that we were completely changing what we do. It is the ultimate benchmark and one that relies on consistency."

Surge in bookings

It's not all over for The Checkers -- the culinary institution will reopen as "Checkers Pantry" in mid-November 2018 -- serving breakfast and lunch, alongside coffee and cake, but dinner will be off the menu.

Current chef Borie will take a step back and Sarah and Kathryn will be running the show.

"Sarah and I both have key roles and have five children between our two families, it will be lovely to have more evenings at home and to be a little less nocturnal!" Kathryn says.

Kathryn says that the reaction from customers has been overwhelmingly positive.

"The response has been brilliant -- the diary has gone crazy with guests wanting to book for dinner with Stephane before the switch over."

The Checkers is located in Montgomery, a spot Kathryn calls "a beautiful gateway to Mid Wales."

It's a rural spot home to the atmospheric ruins of Montgomery Castle, among other attractions.

"We have a good local following and a growing tourism market enchanted by this former county town," says Kathryn. "The location is perfect for our new venture."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 65170

Reported Deaths: 820
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah14988210
Washington881596
Marion8321127
Clackamas535376
Umatilla409948
Lane382037
Jackson335623
Malheur230839
Deschutes191114
Yamhill156516
Linn126018
Polk105115
Douglas80415
Jefferson76511
Benton7097
Union6912
Klamath6854
Morrow6197
Lincoln56313
Wasco47218
Josephine4314
Columbia4223
Coos3831
Hood River3611
Clatsop3330
Baker2573
Crook1906
Grant1221
Tillamook1110
Curry1052
Lake980
Harney861
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler20
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1114524

Reported Deaths: 18726
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3645207438
San Bernardino845311129
Riverside806761400
San Diego71648968
Orange696941554
Kern38316445
Fresno35973471
Sacramento33133546
Santa Clara30676463
Alameda27485499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22412258
Stanislaus20370416
Tulare19752303
Ventura18040174
Imperial15053353
San Francisco14445158
Monterey13886113
San Mateo13203169
Sonoma11428155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10922133
Kings1003886
Solano934980
Marin7518128
Placer577867
Madera571480
San Luis Obispo561835
Yolo419975
Shasta409542
Santa Cruz389827
Butte366459
Napa275717
Sutter263813
El Dorado19304
San Benito174115
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama143523
Mendocino138522
Nevada10189
Lake83218
Glenn8296
Humboldt7309
Tuolumne7088
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo28316
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Trinity1130
Modoc1110
Mariposa1042
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
Medford
Broken Clouds
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 39°
Brookings
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Crater Lake
Scattered Clouds
27° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 27°
Grants Pass
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Klamath Falls
Scattered Clouds
27° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 27°
Few Monday showers
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events