Happier days: French chef Marc Veyrat holds the Michelin guide in triumph when he won his third star for his La Maison des Bois restaurant in 2018 Photo: AFP/File
food

Cheddar in a souffle? French chef rages at Michelin over lost star

11 Comments
By Odile DUPERRY and Fiachra GIBBONS

Flamboyant French chef Marc Veyrat has railed against Michelin, demanding that his top restaurant be withdrawn from the guide, after telling AFP that its inspectors claimed he had used English Cheddar cheese in his souffle.

Veyrat, who lost one of the maximum three stars for his La Maison des Bois restaurant in the French Alps in January, said the loss had plunged him into a six-month-long depression.

"How dare you take your chefs' health hostage?" he seethed in a blistering letter to the guide, regarded as the bible of haute cuisine.

Veyrat, 69, took particular umbrage at inspectors "daring to say that I put Cheddar in our souffle of (local) Reblochon, Beaufort and Tomme (cheeses).

"They have insulted my region," he told AFP. "My employees were furious.

"We only use the eggs from our own hens, the milk is from our own cows and we have two botanists out every morning collecting herbs," the horrified chef declared.

Veyrat, who made his name with his so-called "botanical" cooking, using wild herbs gathered around his restaurants in his native Haute Savoie region, denounced the "profound incompetence" of the guide's famously rigorous inspectors.

"You are impostors," he fumed, "who only want (to stir up) clashes for your own commercial reasons. We are pulling our restaurant out of the Michelin."

But the iconic red guide said that it would not withdraw its listing, despite Veyrat travelling to the French capital to confront its editors face to face.

"Michelin guide inspectors visit restaurants across the world anonymously. They pay their bills like every other customer," said its new director Gwendal Poullennec, who disputed a claim by Veyrat that the inspectors may not have eaten at his table.

The chef, who is instantly recognisable in France for his signature wide-brimmed black Savoyard hat, had also claimed that a new generation at the head of the guide were trying to make their names by attacking the pillars of French cuisine.

Veyrat -- who won back the top rating only last year -- was forced to give up cooking a decade ago after a serious skiing accident.

Then La Maison des Bois burned down four years ago as he tried to make a comeback.

But in 2018 he finally landed the coveted third star, the summit of culinary achievement, for the alpine establishment, declaring that he had felt "like an orphan when I wasn't in the Michelin".

A self-taught master who has spent most of his life cooking in his home village of Manigod 1,600 meters up the Alps near Annecy, Veyrat has twice been given the maximum 20 out of 20 score by the rival Gault Millau guide.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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Mmmmmm......?

I wish they could explain how the “Michelin secret diners” could find out that the cheese is not the said cheese

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Veyrat, 69, took particular umbrage at inspectors "daring to say that I put Cheddar in our souffle of (local) Reblochon, Beaufort and Tomme (cheeses).

Ouch! English cheddar makers: "nah, not bothered. fancy another pint?'

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have proudly never eaten at any Michelin starred restaurant in my life. Give me a simple McDonald's Quarter Pounder with cheese meal over these pompous restaurants and chefs any day.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

He lost a Michelin star because - allegedly - he used the wrong cheese. Un fromage Anglais, what's more.

Only en France.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He lost a Michelin star because - allegedly - he used the wrong cheese. Un fromage Anglais, what's more. Only en France.

That sounds about six steps removed from the truth.

He lost a Michelin star. That much is a fact. And it is a fact that Veyroux mentioned cheddar.

Not quite the same is it?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That sounds about six steps removed from the truth.

Can't see any other reason given in the article. The headline suggests foreign fromage was his main offence.

Maybe an exaggeration on my part, but hardly six steps away. You exaggerate. Are you a Savoyard?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can't see any other reason given in the article.

So find a better article or apply better reasoning.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So find a better article or apply better reasoning.

What do you mean, old chum?

A better article bout French chefs losing a Michelin star? An in-depth analysis of the depression into which a French chef might sink after being thoughtlessly criticised for his choice in cheeses? A warts-and-all expose of declining standards in Gallic haute cuisine?

Articles like this are meant to be a bit of light relief amid all the doom and gloom.

You appear to be taking it far too seriously.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What do you mean, old chum?

I mean that when you say you don't "see any other reason given in the article", it's worth mentioning that no reason was given at all; they simply reported a bunch of Veyrat's allegations. And your not seeing any other reason doesn't make the reason you give the correct one.

Michelin doesn't give reasons for removing a star (strictly speaking, it doesn't remove stars at all). In addition, they maintain the anonymity of their inspectors. So Veyrat is in no position to know why he got two stars this time, which makes his allegations baseless. And almost certainly untrue. That's about as much interest as I take in the whole thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He seemed in triumph in 2008, when he got the maximum amount of stars and I am sure he and his restaurant profited mightily from that rating. Where was all his faux outrage then?

Now, as the say the worm turns.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He seemed in triumph in 2008, when he got the maximum amount of stars and I am sure he and his restaurant profited mightily from that rating. Where was all his faux outrage then?

Yeah! It's really weird that he wasn't outraged about the wrongs done to him before they had ever been done to him. What a rube.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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