21 Mar 2024

NZ chef at French restaurant awarded Michelin star

9:24 am on 21 March 2024
Nick Honeyman, and wife Sina

Nick and Sina Honeyman whose French restaurant Le Petit Léon has been awarded a Michelin star. Photo: Supplied/Facebook

A New Zealand chef has been awarded a Michelin star for his restaurant in France.

Nick Honeyman told Morning Report he was shell-shocked over the award, which had been a dream since he was a young chef.

"It's a manifestation of 20 years coming to fruition, which is pretty crazy."

He said ending up at Le Petit Léon in southern France was a "complete accident", having initially been sent there from Paris for a cultural experience 15 years ago.

Five years ago, Honeyman and wife Sina bought the restaurant "as an excuse to get to Europe in summer".

He didn't fully understand the magnitude of receiving a Michelin star until this week, he said.

"We're just completely inundated with messages and emails and bookings."

Honeyman said the process for awarding the stars is a mystery and they were invited to the award ceremony without knowing if they would receive one.

"I was a nervours wreck until they read your name out and [then] I was trying to fight tears."

Nick and Sina also co-own fine dining restaurant Paris Butter on Jervois Road in Auckland.

"We have been so overwhelmed with support over the last few days, we could not have done any of this without you all," he said in his Instagram post.

"As we built this business this [star] was never our main objective but it was definitely on our goals list."

He credited Sina with overseeing the front of house and allowing the kitchen team to "flourish".

"This star belongs to our team, past and present and we could never have done this without Sina."

He also thanked the suppliers, customers and the Paris Butter team in New Zealand.

"They allowed me to have full focus when we were in France and countless supportive phone calls and inspiration."

Le Petit Léon is a seasonal restaurant in Le Bourg, Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère and is open from May through to September.

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