French chef sues Michelin Guide for taking star away

He claims there was a mix-up over cheese

By Tamara Hardingham-Gill, CNN
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Chef Marc Veyrat

(CNN) - Being stripped of a Michelin star can be pretty devastating for a chef, so French restaurateur Marc Veyrat was understandably disappointed when his restaurant lost its three-star status earlier this year.

However, the famous chef has decided to fight back by taking legal action against Michelin Guide, claiming the demotion was due to a mix-up over cheese.

Veyrat is now suing the gastronomic bible, claiming that inspectors bungled their evaluation of his Haute-Savoie restaurant La Maison des Bois, which saw it downgraded to two stars.

"I've been dishonored, 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, according to the AFP news agency.

The chef went on to claim that the Michelin inspector had wrongly suggested he'd added cheddar cheese to a soufflé instead of using local ingredients.

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

Downgrade row

Veyrat's lawyer, Emmanuel Ravanas, told the AFP that the chef would like the court to force Michelin to hand over documents "to clarify the exact reasons" for the decision, which was made in January.

According to Ravanas, a court hearing is set for Nov. 29 in Nanterre, west of Paris.

"We understand the disappointment of Mr Veyrat, whose talent no-one disputes... we will study his requests carefully and respond," the Michelin Guide said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Veyrat asked that La Maison des Bois, which is located in the French Alps, be removed from the Michelin Guide entirely due to the reviewer's "incompetence."

However, the guide's directors said they would "continue to recommend it."

The chef's website describes the renowned restaurant as a place where "guests come to experience the chef's never-ending creativity."

His request came two years after another French chef, Sébastien Bras, announced that he wished to be left out of the 2018 edition of the guide after his restaurant Le Suquet held the maximum three-star rating for over a decade now.

Bras stated that he could no longer deal with the pressure of meeting the standards expected to maintain the rating.

CNN has contacted Veyrat's legal team and Michelin Guide for further comment.

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