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France: top chef lost controversy over Michelin stars

A court in Nanterre found that star chef Marc Veyrat could not prove that the downgrading of his restaurant had harmed him, the French news agency AFP reported on Tuesday.

At the beginning of the year, the gourmet bible had deprived the Maison des Bois in Manigod near Annecy of the top grade of three stars. The “peasant cook” Veyrat, known for his wide-brimmed black hat, has had two stars since then. Veyrat had accused the Michelin restaurant guide of making a mistake in the downgrading and took legal action.

French celebrity chef Marc Veyrat

APA / AFP / Jaceques Demarthon

Since the gastronomy guide removed a star from Veyrat in January this year, the top chef has been in a clinch with the critics

One euro in damages is required

Veyrat wanted to know the exact reasons for the star’s withdrawal. So the top chef asked for the test protocols to be disclosed. He also claimed symbolic damages. The court was now unable to comply. “No student would agree to a grade if he didn’t know the grade criteria and the scale of points. The same applies to chef Marc Veyrat, ”said a reaction from Veyrat’s lawyer to the decision.

Gourmet Awards

Three stars are the highest award in the “Guide Michelin”. Consistent quality of the ingredients, professional preparation, innovation and uniqueness of the dishes are assessed. There is no three-star restaurant in Austria. The hoods of Michelin competitor Gaul Millau also count here.

According to Veyrat, the Michelin critics believed that the restaurant was supposed to have made a souffle with English cheddar cheese, rather than traditional French varieties. At the time, Michelin had stressed: “We would like to remind you that our primary task is to inform consumers – this has prompted us to change our recommendation.”

“A bunch of fraudsters”

At the time, the 69-year-old wrote in an excited letter to Michelin: “You insulted my region, my employees are angry!” He also accused the publisher of being a “bunch of fraudsters”. And: the review is fake anyway.

He therefore requested immediate removal from the “Guide” – but the company declined. The head of the “Guide Michelin”, Gwendal Poullennec, had already rejected Veyrat’s request in an interview in summer to remove his restaurant entirely from the gastronomy guide. The Michelin stars did not belong to the top chefs, the chief evaluator argued in the newspaper “Le Monde”.

Great pressure in the industry

After the star was withdrawn, Veyrat said he fell into a six-month depression. The stars of the “Guide Michelin” are highly coveted by top chefs – however, the fact that this is associated with great pressure shows mental illnesses among those affected, which can lead to suicide. Veyrat is not the first to deliberately want to part with the stars. “Kitchen rebel” Sebastien Bras also asked in 2018 not to be awarded stars – but just as unsuccessfully. He was again awarded two stars in the “Guide Michelin 2019”.

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