ANNECY, France — Flamboyant French chef Marc Veyrat has railed against Michelin, demanding that his top restaurant be withdrawn from the guide, after telling AFP that its inspectors claimed he had used English Cheddar cheese in his souffle.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’s La Maison des Bois restaurant in the French Alps was downgraded to two stars from the maximum three in January and he 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 on Wednesday. “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,” he said.
But the iconic red guide said Thursday 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.
In 2018, La Maison des Bois landed the coveted Michelin third star, the summit of culinary achievement, for the alpine establishment with Veyrat declaring that he had felt “like an orphan when I wasn’t in the Michelin.”