A French Chef Is Suing the Michelin Guide After It Accused Him of Using Cheddar Cheese

After being docked a star, a "depressed" Marc Veyrat unsuccessfully demanded that Michelin remove his restaurant from the guide entirely.
September 24, 2019, 9:40pm
Marc Veyrat michelin guide
Photo: Getty Images

On Tuesday, French chef Marc Veyrat announced that he has filed a lawsuit against the Michelin guide, the latest jab in a one-sided, one-man fight that he's waged against the esteemed restaurant review system for the past several months.

Veyrat told France Inter radio that Michelin had "dishonored" him in January, when the most recent edition of the guide knocked one star from its rating of his restaurant, La Maison des Bois, dropping it from three stars down to two.

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He has previously claimed that the Michelin inspector who visited his restaurant accused him of putting Cheddar cheese in a French soufflé, an allegation that he has strongly denied. "They dared to say that we put Cheddar in our soufflé of reblochon, Beaufort, and tomme," he said at the time. They have insulted our region, my employees went crazy,” he told Le Point. “We have eggs from our chickens and we milk our cows, and two botanists pick our plants every morning!”

After being docked a star, a "depressed" Veyrat insisted that Michelin remove his restaurant from its publication entirely, which the organization has declined to do. ("We are not removing La Maison des Bois from the Michelin guide," International Guide Director Gwendal Poullennec said to Le Monde. "If the institution remains open, and our inspectors evaluate it, we will continue to recommend it.")

Veyrat is still salty about that Cheddar thing, telling Inter Radio that he'd used saffron in the souffle, but the Michelin inspector mistook its deep yellow color for Cheddar. "That's what you call knowledge of a place?" he railed. "It's just crazy." (He has previously questioned whether an inspector visited La Maison des Bois at all. Veyrat said he never saw an inspector, ever, but Poullennec basically said 'They're anonymous, that's the point.")

His attorney, Emmanuel Ravanas, told AFP that the chef hopes that Michelin will have to explain the reasons behind its review, and its subsequent star removal. "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 said. "He accepts it all, as long as the criticism is accurate."

In a statement, Michelin said that it "understands [Veyrat's] disappointment," but "regrets his unreasonable persistence" when it comes to accusing it of… all of this stuff. "We will carefully study his demands and respond calmly," it said.

A court hearing has been set for November 27. Regardless of the outcome, we're assuming that Veyrat is going to handle it totally calmly.