Celebrity French chef sues Michelin guide over rating
NANTERRE (AFP) — Celebrity French chef Marc Veyrat said Tuesday that he has sued the famed Michelin guide after inspectors stripped his restaurant of its coveted third star, claiming they had botched their evaluation, in particular over a cheese souffle.
“I’ve been dishonored, I saw my team in tears … to have them call you one evening without warning, without anything written down, without anything, to say ‘That’s it, it’s over’” Veyrat told France Inter radio on Tuesday.
Veyrat’s La Maison des Bois restaurant in the French Alps was demoted to two stars from the maximum three last January, just a year after he secured the industry’s highest accolade.
He said the move plunged him into depression, and the furious chef later demanded that he be removed from the vaunted red guides — in vain.
He claims the downgrade came after a Michelin inspector mistakenly thought he had adulterated a cheese souffle with English Cheddar, instead of using France’s Reblochon, Beaufort and Tomme varieties.
“I put saffron in it, and the gentleman who came thought it was cheddar because it was yellow. That’s what you call knowledge of a place? It’s just crazy,” Veyrat told France Inter.
His lawyer Emmanuel Ravanas had told AFP late Monday that Veyrat hopes the court will force Michelin to hand over documents “to clarify the exact reasons” justifying its decision.
He said a court hearing has been set for Nov. 27 in Nanterre, just west of Paris.
“For decades, Marc Veyrat has been used to having his cooking graded, evaluated and compared, and he knows quite well that you don’t own a star for life … He accepts it all, as long as the criticism is accurate,” Ravanas said.