The Michelin Guide, France's gastronomy bible, announced its coveted star ratings over the weekend and on Monday.
35-year-old chef Arnaud Donckele was among the three-star recipients, honored for his cuisine celebrating the Mediterranean and sunny Provence.
The 2013 guide to the culinary world also included five newcomers: Yoann Conte in Veyrier-du-Lac and La Table du Kilimandjaro in Courchevel, both in the Savoy Alps; William Frachot's restaurant at the Hostellerie du Chapeau Rouge in Dijon, La Marine in the Vendee, and Auberge du Pont d'Acigné in Brittany.
Two new restaurants also received a third star this year — Azurmendi in Spain's Basque Country, and Quique Dacosta in Alicante, Spain.
Donckele, based in the former fishing village of Saint-Tropez, is the 27th French chef to reach the holy grail of gastronomy.
His restaurant La Vague D'Or is the only new top ranking to be included in the French listings.
He trained under Michel Guerard, also a three-star chef, who is celebrated as one of the founders of nouvelle cuisine and then under the legendary Alain Ducasse, who owns a chain of celebrated restaurants and became the first chef to own restaurants carrying three Michelin stars in three cities.
Michael Ellis, the international director of Michelin Guide, told AFP that Donckele's speciality was his mastery of local products.
"Arnaud Donckele's cuisine provides diners with a unique, unforgettable experience," Ellis said in a statement.
"Cuisine must recount the history of the region," Donckele told a news conference. "We are nothing compared to the fishermen and cattle breeders," he said.
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