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 November 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.
– Skiing accident –
Veyrat, 69, made his name with his so-called “botanical” cooking, employing the wild herbs gathered around his restaurants in his native Haute Savoie region.
Earlier this year the chef, who is instantly recognizable in France for his signature wide-brimmed black Savoyard hat and smoke-tinted glasses, had tried to get Michelin to hand over the inspector notes or the bills proving they had indeed dined at his establishment.
He also claimed that a new generation of editors at the head of the guide were trying to make their names by attacking the pillars of French cuisine.
But in a statement Monday, Michelin said it “understands the disappointment for Mr Veyrat, whose talent no one contests, even if we regret his unreasonable persistence with his accusations.”
“Our first duty is to tell consumers why we have changed our recommendation. We will carefully study his demands and respond calmly,” it said.
Veyrat’s recovery of a third star for La Maison du Bois in 2018 capped a comeback after he was forced to give up cooking a decade ago after a serious skiing accident.
He had previously won three stars for two other restaurants.
The intense strains of reaching cooking’s highest spheres — and the financial impacts of losing Michelin stars — have been highlighted in recent years by the suicides of several top chefs.
French chef Bernard Loiseau shot himself in 2003 after a newspaper hinted that his restaurant was about to lose its three-star status.
And Benoit Violier ended his life in 2016 just months after his Swiss restaurant was named the best in the world in the La Liste ranking.
Trump supporters linked to Steve Bannon pushing ‘fantastical rumors’ to try to ‘pizzagate’ Joe Biden: report
NBC News on Thursday published a blockbuster report on efforts to smear former Vice President Joe Biden.
"Some of the same people who pushed a false conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton that first emerged in 2016 are now targeting Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son, with similar falsehoods. Their online posts are garnering astronomical numbers of shares on social media," NBC News correspondents Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny reported Thursday.
"The fantastical rumors, which NBC News is declining to repeat verbatim, echo specific plot points central to 'pizzagate,' a viral disinformation campaign that predates QAnon but also falsely alleges a vast conspiracy of child abuse," NBC News explained. "There is an important difference, however. The pizzagate-style rumors in 2016 were largely confined to far-right message boards like 4chan and parts of Reddit. But the Hunter Biden iteration of the same conspiracy theory took off last weekend with the help of speculation from conservative TV hosts and members of Congress. Their theorizing can be traced back to a new website that has been promoted by President Donald Trump and his surrogates."
Pennsylvania AG warns Trump campaign poll watchers to stop videotaping voters
On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that the attorney general of Pennsylvania is warning Trump campaign surrogates to stop videotaping voters dropping off mail-in ballots.
"In a statement, Josh Shapiro, the Democratic state attorney general, said, 'Pennsylvania law permits poll watchers to carry out very discrete and specific duties — videotaping voters at drop boxes is not one of them,'" reported Blake Montgomery.
"The campaign has filed complaints with Philadelphia officials based on the videos, alleging fraud on the part of several voters who submitted two or three ballots, according to The New York Times," continued the report. "The Trump campaign initially said the purpose of the videotaping was to catch voters who dropped off a large number of fraudulent ballots rather than one or two, according to the Times."
WATCH: CNN’s Blitzer corners Trump’s chief of staff for trying to downplay COVID failures
On CNN Thursday, anchor Wolf Blitzer confronted President Donald Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows about his failure to follow public health guidelines and demonstrate leadership in the COVID-19 pandemic.
"A study from Columbia University ... found that anywhere from 130,000 to 210,000 lives potentially could have been saved over these past eight, nine, ten months with a more robust federal response," said Blitzer. "Why did the president say just this week when he was asked what he would have done differently, he said not much?"
"Well, I can tell you that if your study says that they can save 210,000 lives, I haven't read it, but it would be very difficult to imagine that scenario ... I don't know that any scientist or any doctor would agree with that particular analysis," said Meadows. "What we have here is a clock that keeps talking about the number of cases that we have. It really doesn't talk about the advances that we need to make on the therapeutics, vaccines and treatment side of things."