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French celebrity chef Marc Veyrat says he's suing Michelin for loss of third star

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FILE PHOTO: French chef Marc Veyrat reacts after he was awarded with three Michelin stars for his restaurant La Maison des Bois in Manigod, February 5, 2018.
FILE PHOTO: French chef Marc Veyrat reacts after he was awarded with three Michelin stars for his restaurant La Maison des Bois in Manigod, February 5, 2018. -
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Celebrity French chef Marc Veyrat announced that he is suing the famed Michelin guide after inspectors stripped his restaurant La Maison des Bois of its coveted third star last January.

"I've been dishonoured, I saw my team in tears... to have them call you one evening without warning, without anything written down, without anything, to say 'That's it, it's over'," Veyrat told France Inter radio on Tuesday.

He said the move plunged him into depression, and the furious chef later demanded that his restaurant be withdrawn from the Michelin Guide – a request the publishers of the iconic red book refused.

Contentious cheese souffle

Veyrat claimed inspectors had botched their evaluation of a cheese souffle.

"I put saffron in it, and the gentleman who came thought it was cheddar because it was yellow. That's what you call knowledge of a place? It's just crazy," Veyrat told France Inter.

His lawyer Emmanuel Ravanas told AFP on Monday that Veyrat hopes the court will force Michelin to hand over documents "to clarify the exact reasons" justifying its decision.

He said a court hearing has been set for November 27 in Nanterre, just west of Paris.

"For decades, Marc Veyrat has been used to having his cooking graded, evaluated and compared, and he knows quite well that you don't own a star for life... He accepts it all, as long as the criticism is accurate," Ravanas said.

Veyrat, 69, made his name with his so-called "botanical" cooking, using the wild herbs gathered around his restaurants in his native Haute Savoie region.

Earlier this year the chef tried to get Michelin to hand over the inspection notes or the bills proving they had indeed dined at his establishment.

He also claimed that a new generation of editors at the head of the guide were trying to make their names by attacking the pillars of French cuisine.

'Unreasonable persistence'

But in a statement on Monday, Michelin said it "understands the disappointment of Mr Veyrat, whose talent no one contests, even if we regret his unreasonable persistence with his accusations."

"Our first duty is to tell consumers why we have changed our recommendation. We will carefully study his demands and respond calmly," it said.

Veyrat's recovery of a third star for La Maison du Bois in 2018 marked his comeback after he was forced to give up cooking a decade before following a serious skiing accident.

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