In late January, acclaimed chef Yannick Delpech criticized participants of the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) protests that have engulfed France for the past three months. In a post on Facebook, he called out the “conspiracy theorists, anarchists and racists” who had “hijacked” the social movement, and insisted that he would not pull down the metal shutter in front of his Michelin-starred restaurant, L'Amphitryon, because of the increasingly destructive demonstrations.
“No, will not give up. No, I will not stoop to the insults, intimidation, destruction [and] violence by a minority who only want chaos,” he wrote, signing his impassioned post as “a merchant and craftsman, a citizen who advocates dialogue in the face of chaos.”
But the gilets jaunes seem to have chosen chaos over a nice chat. A day later, L’Amphitryon was robbed and spray-painted with “GJ” and the words “revolution,” “whore,” and “collabo,” a World War II-era term used to deride people who collaborated with the Nazis. A week after that, arsonists set Delpech’s car on fire, and the flames spread to the restaurant, damaging the kitchen enough that L’Amphitryon temporarily closed.
But before the police could complete their investigation into the fire, Delpech was apparently targeted again. On Wednesday, the restaurant was torched for a second time. France24 reports that no suspects have been identified, and they think it might be “too early” to definitively say whether the two fires are connected.
“In the early morning, a new fire broke out in my L'Amphitryon in Colomiers, with my employees inside, only a few days after the first fire,” Delpech wrote on Facebook. “The SRPJ is in charge of the investigation to determine the origin of the fire […] Today my thoughts turn to the safety of my employees, my customers and myself. In the coming hours, I will make a decision about the future of my businesses, for the safety of all.”
Delpech—who, at 24, was the youngest-ever recipient of a Michelin star—has already had to rebuild the restaurant once. In August 2011, L’Amphitryon was completely destroyed by a fire caused by what La Depeche describes as “a technical problem.” The restaurant was rebuilt on the same site, and reopened nine months later.
“He didn’t accuse the yellow vests of causing the first fire and makes no link between the two blazes,” one of Delpech’s associates told Reuters. “What he criticised was the violence of thugs on the movement’s fringes.”
Unfortunately, these two fires may have proved the point that he was trying to make.