French chef Marc Veyrat and Michelin begin court battle over star demotion

Marc Veyrat reacts after he was awarded with three Michelin stars for his restaurant La Maison des Bois. File pic.
Marc Veyrat reacts after he was awarded with three Michelin stars for his restaurant La Maison des Bois. File pic. Copyright REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
By Rachael Kennedy
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A culinary court battle has begun as French chef Marc Veyrat sues Michelin for stripping him of his three-star status, and for suggesting he used English Cheddar in his souffle.

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A culinary court battle is set to begin as a decorated French chef faces the renowned Michelin Guide to demand answers over its decision to demote him from his coveted three-star rating.

Marc Veyrat is suing the guide after it suggested he used English Cheddar in his souffle instead of French Reblochon and Beaufort and later chose to revoke his third Michelin star.

He is demanding details on the criteria leading to such a decision, the evaluation methods used and the level of training Michelin inspectors receive.

In response, Michelin is to countersue the chef for damages totalling €30,000.

The move to downgrade Veyrat's restaurant La Maison des Bois from three stars to two has been described by the chef himself as a demonstration from the guide's inspectors of "deep incompetence".

He said back in July that he had also been "depressed for six months" after being demoted to a two-star rating.

"How dare you take the health of your cooks hostage?" he said to Le Point newspaper at the time.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Michelin told AFP on the eve of the trial that it was nothing but a case of a "narcissistic diva" prone to "pathological egoism".

The company's lawyer also labelled the case "grotesque".

But regardless of sides taken, this legal battle marks an important moment in the culinary world as it the first to be taken against the guide, and it could lead to the chef receiving secret notes used to make the Michelin judgement.

It could also set an example for other chefs displeased with their judgement in the future.

The case is being heard in Nanterre.

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