Appetite sated:  The high price of success

How a person balances commitment and ambition with the always high cost of sustaining success is a defining characteristic. Not all of us get this relationship right early in life. We have to wait for the wisdom of age to sort the wheat from the chaff; for maturity to draw the ruthlessness from ambition. Some of us, happy on the couch, never engage in the process and regard almost any price as too high.

A few of us, very few of us, reach the pinnacle of our profession and decide that enough is enough and that a pedestal is a lonely, high-pressure address with only one way to go. We decide that we have something better to do with our lives.

One of France’s most celebrated chefs, Sebastien Bras, 46, who runs Le Suquet restaurant in Laguiole in south-central France, has decided to withdraw from the cutthroat Michelin star race as the stress-satisfaction ratio is skewered. He and his father, Michel, have held three stars for almost 20 years. This is the first time Michelin has allowed a restaurant withdraw from the process. Swimming against the tide like this takes courage — courage many of us may not have.

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