THOSE crucial new Michelin ratings in brief: Albert Roux loses one star and his former protege, Pierre Koffmann, gains one as Le Gavroche is reduced to two-star status and La Tante Claire is elevated to the highest echelon. At the two-star level there are no surprises as Nico Ladenis, relocated at Ninety Park Lane, retains this rating and Raymond Blanc fails to gain a third star for Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons.

Shaun Hill regains the star controversially withdrawn from Gidleigh Park, Devon a few years ago, and Philip Vickers regains the one lost by The Castle in Taunton, Somerset, with the departure of Gary Rhodes. Richard Neat of Pied a Terre, London, and Jean Christophe Novelli of Provence in Lymington, Hampshire, fulfilled widespread predictions by gaining a star apiece. Less predictable one-star newcomers include: Old Beams at Waterhouses, Staffordshire (0538 308 254); Read's in Faversham, Kent (0795 535 344); Buckland Manor, near Broadway, Hereford and Worcestershire (0386 852 626).

ALBERT ROUX took the demotion of Le Gavroche terribly graciously, pointing out that he has now passed the chef's baton to his son, Michel, who deserves the opportunity to regain the third star for himself.

Albert has a new role as a columnist for the London Evening Standard where, on the day the new ratings were announced, he tried to persuade us that Heinz beans on toast, with a poached egg on top, is his favourite meal. The Godfather of Haute Cuisine will be appearing in episode five of Lenny Henry's new sitcom, Chef], which starts on BBC 1 on Thursday at 9.30pm.

In the series, Lenny Henry plays a bad boy chef called Gareth Blackstock, obviously modelled on the likes of Marco Pierre White, but less obviously influenced by John Burton-Race of L'Ortolan at Shinfield, Berkshire. This is Henry's local ritzy restaurant where he spent some time in the kitchen absorbing the atmosphere. Burton-Race, of course, retains his two stars.

TODAY is the Chinese new year, and in this Year of the Rooster I guess we ought to be celebrating with chicken chow mein. If you cannot get out for an authentic one, you may be able to pick up one of Marks & Spencer's microwave-able Chinese meals, especially discounted to mark the occasion. The Gastropod has sampled the M & S set menu for two, which includes chicken chow mein as well as sweet and sour pork, spare ribs, egg-fried rice and sesame prawn toasts. It is at least as good as my local takeaway product and, at pounds 5.99, considerably cheaper.

THE LATEST sensation among design-conscious west Londoners is the labyrinthine interconnecting dining-rooms at Beach Blanket Babylon, Notting Hill (071-229 2907), which serves a modish, Mediterranean-influenced menu at about pounds 20 a head. Early reports are weak on the food, strong on the decor by Tony Weller, variously likened to the Vatican catacombs or the secret meeting place of some strange sect.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own