A prestigious food guide has allowed a top French restaurant to publicly withdraw from its listings.

Sebastien Bras’s Le Suquet restaurant in southern France held Michelin’s three-star rating for 18 years.

He shocked the food world in September when he decided to give up his top rating, saying he no longer wanted to cook under the “huge pressure” of being judged by its inspectors.

It is the first time Michelin has ever allowed a restaurant to bow out.

“It is difficult for us to have a restaurant in the guide which does not wish to be in it,” Michelin spokesperson Claire Dorland Clauzel told AFP news agency. She said other restaurants had dropped out when chefs retired or the concept had changed.