Europe

Marc Veyrat, celebrity chef, loses court case over removed Michelin star

Marc Veyrat, seen holding a wide-brimmed black hat and wearing dark sunglasses Image copyright AFP

A famous French chef who said he had been "disgraced" after one of his Michelin stars was removed has lost his lawsuit against the restaurant guide.

The Michelin Guide is a restaurant guide book, and its three-starred restaurants are often considered to be among the finest in the world.

Marc Veyrat lost his top rating after only one year, and sued Michelin, demanding a full explanation.

But the French court dismissed his case, ordering him to pay costs.

It found that the 69-year-old chef had failed to show any proof that he had suffered material damage.

Mr Veyrat himself told the AFP news agency ahead of the ruling that business in the restaurant, La Maison des Bois, was up 7% in the past year, and he was fully booked even in the normally quiet period between Christmas and New Year.

His legal case was aimed at forcing the guide's editors to hand over its judges' notes and the explicit reasons for the decision to strip his restaurant of its third star. He asked for one euro in symbolic damages.

Michelin, however, labelled the chef a "narcissistic diva" and said the case was about freedom of opinion and criticism.

Mr Veyrat had previously said he had been plunged into months of depression, and criticised Michelin's food critics, known as "inspectors".

They "dared to say we put cheddar in our soufflé", he told French Radio at the outset of his legal action, saying he would never use an English cheese in such a way.

"I put saffron in it, and the gentleman who came thought it was cheddar because it was yellow," he said.

Earlier in 2019, he asked the guidebook to remove his restaurant from its listings entirely, rather than be listed with just two stars - something its editors refused to do.

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Media captionHow to recover a lost Michelin star

Three stars are awarded to roughly 100 restaurants in the world each year. The guide says it awards such a rating only to those restaurants which are worth a "special journey" merely to dine there. Two-star restaurants, meanwhile, are "excellent" and "worth a detour".

But the authors are well aware of the power the guide has, noting that "getting a star (or three) could change the fate of a restaurant".

The entry for La Maison des Bois, located in Mr Veyrat's home town of Manigod in the Haute-Savoie department, 20km (12 miles) west of Mont Blanc, notes that guests can be "assured to be well-looked after" and amid a stunning setting, "the chef always surprises".

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