French chef Marc Veyrat cheesed off over Michelin demotion

Friday 12th July 2019 12:00 BST

Marc Veyrat, 69, also accused the guide of "profound incompetence" and cast doubt on whether his restaurant - La Maison des Bois in Manigod in eastern France, close to the Swiss border - was properly inspected.

His alleged use of cheddar cheese in a soufflé made with reblochon, beaufort and Tomme appears to have enraged him, accusing Michelin of being "manipulators of gastronomy".

Mr Veyrat's restaurant, which according to its website produces "culinary symphonies" and "stunning dishes which never fail to live up to expectations", offers two menus costing €295 (£265) and €395 (£354).

It was awarded the maximum three Michelin stars early last year. This year, one of them was taken away.

Following months of contemplation, Mr Veyrat, who is known for his signature black hat, decided he would like his restaurant to be left out of the guide altogether.

In a letter to Michelin, revealed to French news magazine Le Point, Mr Veyrat said: "I have been in depression for six months. How dare you take the health of your cooks hostage?"

He added: "During our visit to your Paris office to understand the reasons for our demotion, we were able to see your profound incompetence.

"It scares me for new generations. Indeed, the only reason given was to confuse the reblochon and beaufort emulsion with cheddar - that's an insult to the region.

"You are manipulators of gastronomy. You do not know anything about the identity of the land.

"You are impostors who only want clashes for commercial reasons."

Questioning whether the restaurant was properly inspected, Mr Veyrat also demanded to see the bills from the restaurant.

"You have a record, you should be able to find this evidence," he said.

Michelin said it would continue to feature the restaurant in its annual red book.

"Michelin inspectors visit tables all over the world anonymously," the guide's director Gwendal Poullennec told French newspaper Le Monde.

"They will continue to visit la Maison des Bois."

He described Mr Veryat as a "talented chef" and "a major figure in French gastronomy".

Mr Poullennec said he was saddened by the chef's "suffering", but added: "We will continue to recommend his restaurant."

La Maison des Bois receives lavish praise on the Michelin website, which says Mr Veyrat's eatery is "worth a detour" and offers "expertly crafted dishes, which are refined, inspired and sometimes original".

It also has a "particularly interesting wine list", it adds.

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