the equipment of this former starred restaurant sold at auction

the equipment of this former starred restaurant sold at auction
the equipment of this former starred restaurant sold at auction

The equipment from the Les Berceaux restaurant, in Épernay in Marne, was sold at auction on May 22, 2024, after the former Michelin-starred establishment was placed in liquidation. Patrick Michelon ran the kitchen there for a long time, he died in 2023.

A page in the gastronomy of Épernay (Marne) is being turned. The city’s auction house hosted an auction on Wednesday May 22 of all the equipment from the Les Berceaux restaurant. Cold room, crockery, furniture, ice maker, waffle iron, pans… 142 lots were offered for sale, led by auctioneer Antoine Petit.

Les Berceaux, a restaurant long run by chef Patrick Michelon, has been awarded a star in the Michelin guide for many years. It was suspended after Covid, because the restaurant had not reopened, and the critics in the famous red guide had not been able to update their assessment of the establishment.

After being placed in receivership in January 2024, the liquidation of the restaurant was declared last March. The sale on May 22 should help pay off part of the establishment’s debts.

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The auction, this Wednesday, May 22, was led by auctioneer Antoine Petit.

© Matti Faye / France Télévisions

Around forty people took their places in the auction room, others followed the auctions remotely, via the internet, where they were broadcast live. In the aisles, some seemed determined to leave with everything necessary to equip a professional kitchen, while others had a completely different objective.

“I’m going to let food professionals – and there are many of them – buy what they need. There are also people who know how to bid. As for me, there is only one lot that interests me, these are books”, says this winegrower from Épernay. It was even a single work from the lot, a cookbook which is no longer published, which brought him through the doors of the Sparnacian auction house for the first time. “I could have found it on the internet, but this is the opportunity.”

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The restaurant’s equipment sold quickly, among the most expensive lots, this industrial dishwasher sold for 2,200 euros.

© Inteructions

“It’s the end of a story”adds the one who knew Patrick Michelon’s establishment. “It’s the only restaurant I frequented. There’s only one anyway. Well, there was only one”he whispers.

As the auctioneer’s hammer blows continue, we exchange a few words with Gil Pierret. This Sparnacian ate “hundreds of times” at the Cradles. “I knew him in the 1990s, when it was taken over by chef Patrick Michelon. He took over an establishment that was in decline, he turned it around and gave it a star.”

This frequent customer won an auction on a lot of cutlery. “I wanted the waffle iron, but it flew past my goal. Now we’re waiting for the glasses and plates”, he explains. Objects which he intends to use partly for personal use. They will also come to fill the restaurant that his daughter plans to open, in Drôme.

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Part of the kitchens of the Les Berceaux restaurant. (drawing)

© France Télévisions

This friend of Patrick Michelon does not hide his emotion as the sale gradually dismantles years of life. “It’s heartbreaking, it’s unfortunate”he confides.

Chef Patrick Michelon died in February 2023, at the age of 66. He moved into the kitchens of Les Berceaux in 1996 and almost immediately won a Michelin star. A distinction lost between 2004 and 2008, but then retained until Covid. The sale of the restaurant’s equipment is a new challenge for Lydie Michelon, his widow, also involved on a daily basis in the management of the establishment. “I’m glad my husband isn’t here to see this anymore, unfortunately.”she said to our colleagues from France Bleu, just before the auction. “I have the impression of being an old liner that is going to be dismantled.”

Since the closure of Les Berceaux, the town of Épernay no longer has any Michelin-starred restaurants.

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