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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 18:28 GMT
Woman chef wins top Michelin rank
Anne-Sophie Pic (file picture)
Pic paid homage to her father and grandfather
For the first time in more than 50 years, France's prestigious Michelin restaurant guide has given its top three-star ranking to a woman chef.

Anne-Sophie Pic is the fourth French woman to receive the award since the guide began using stars in 1926.

But she is the only French woman to currently hold the distinction.

Ms Pic, 37, runs The Maison Pic in Valence, southern France. Her grandfather Andre won three stars in 1934 and her father Jacques in 1973.

"The last few years, my battle and my desire to win this third star were motivated by my father, by the feelings I had for him, and for the fact that I am reviving the memory of him and my grandfather," she told French radio.

She said the main difficulty she had encountered was "the fact she was a woman rather than being the 'daughter of'" and said she wished that "there would be more and more women chefs".

There are four other women chefs in the world who currently have three stars, three in Italy and one in Spain (jointly with her husband).

Rare honour

Ms Pic's restaurant, which she runs with her husband, is one of 26 three-star establishments in France, and one of five to be newly promoted to the category this year.

The restaurant specialises in fish and its menu includes dishes such as sea bass caught in coastal waters and steamed over wakame kelp served with Gillardeau oyster bonbons, cucumber chutney as well as vodka and lemon butter sauce.

Another dish is roasted scallops from Dieppe served with spaghettinis with Tricastin black truffle and milk mousse flavoured with rum.

The Maison Pic's website describes its chef's cooking style as being informed by a "particularly feminine simplicity" which "asserts itself with direct flavours".

Other women to have received the coveted award were Marguerite Bise in 1951 and Eugenie Brazier and Marie Bourgeois in 1933.

Asked whether she ever thought about the fourth generation of Pics, Ms Pic said:

"My son Nathan (16 months) enjoys his food, but I will impose nothing on him, no pressure.. even if I would like him to!"

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