French chef Marc Veyrat to sue Michelin over rating snub

Marc Veyrat has called in the lawyers after being stripped of his three-star Michelin accolade. REUTERS
Marc Veyrat has called in the lawyers after being stripped of his three-star Michelin accolade. REUTERS
Celebrated French chef to sue Michelin, saying inspectors mistook the cheese in his souffle for Cheddar before demoting his restaurant.

Famed French chef Marc Veyrat is taking the Michelin Guide to court after the prestigious gastronomy bible removed the three-star rating of his renowned La Maison de Bois restaurant.

Veyrat’s much-lauded eatery La Maison de Bois (The House in the Woods) in the French Alps was demoted to a two-star restaurant in January, just a year after it was elevated to the maximum three-star accolade.

Veyrat says he believes inspectors “dared to say we put Cheddar in our souffle”.

Veyrat told radio station France Inter that he has been “disgraced” and his staff were left “in tears”.

“I put saffron in [the souffle], and the gentleman who came thought it was Cheddar because it was yellow,” he said.

He also insisted that the cheeses used were always French, listing Beaufort and Reblochon.

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Veyrat learned of his restaurant’s demotion in January but is now taking legal action against Michelin.

“To have them call you one evening without warning, without anything written down, without anything, to say ‘That’s it, it’s over’,” he said to France Inter.

Veyrat hopes that suing Michelin will force inspectors to clarify “the exact reasons for their decision”.

A court hearing has been set down for November 27.

In response, Michelin said in a statement on Monday, “We understand the disappointment of Mr Veyrat, whose talent no-one disputes… we will study his requests carefully and respond.”

Veyrat revealed earlier this year that he sank into depression after being stripped of his third star.

“How dare they take the health of cooks hostage?” he said to Le Point at the time.

Originally intended for motorists looking for recommendations for somewhere to eat, the Michelin Guide has become an institution within the world of gastronomy and fine-dining.

Its endorsements can make or break chefs’ careers, and can have huge influence over whether a restaurant will sink or swim in today’s competitive dining-out industry.

In protest at the guide’s decision, in July Veyrat asked that La Maison de Bois be removed altogether from the guide.

Michelin denied his request, saying they would continue to recommend it.

Veyrat boasts two other two-starred restaurants in the well-renowned guide.


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