An award winning French Chef has reacted explosively following the loss of one of his restaurant’s three Michelin stars. The world famous Michelin Guide says he used English Cheddar Cheese in his famed traditional three-cheese Soufflé. He says he was framed. I say, does it really matter?
Known to foodies world-wide as one of a select few Chefs to have earned three Michelin stars, celebrity food maestro Marc Veyrat is still fuming six months after learning that he had lost one of them.
“They dared say that we put Cheddar in our soufflé of Roblochon, Beaufort and Tomme [cheeses],” Veyrat told reporters. “They have insulted my region, my staff are furious!”
The world renowned restaurateur who is famed for using only local ingredients insisted: “We get our eggs from our chickens, we milk our own cows and have two botanists pick our plants every morning!”
What is the Michelin Guide?
Every fine dining establishment wants to be listed (with at least one star) in the venerable and storied Michelin Guide. It’s a compendium of resto reviews originally intended as a guide to French motorists who wanted a good place to eat when they went off on a road trip in their cars in the early 1900s.
The idea was not to market fine eateries, though, but to make people more interested in visiting more distant restaurants – an enticement for people to buy cars. Why? It was published by the Michelin Tire Company of France, and they wanted to sell more tires. And it was the spark that inflamed the now-global tradition of destination dining.
It’s hard to get even a single Michelin star, let alone the top three-star rating. When a restaurateur gets his star(s), he or she covets them like gold. Because they’re destined to bring in a whole pantry full of that stuff, ensuring the place is sold out every night for months or even years into the future.
Veyrat was literally sick about losing one of his stars
For six months, Veyrat sulked and fumed by turns about losing one of his three Michelin stars. Loss of a star can be devastating for a famous eatery – and it’s Chef.
“How dare you take the health of your cooks?,” he wrote in his complaint, going on to accuse Michelin’s reviewers and editors of being, “…imposters bent on creating clashes for commercial gain,” by unfairly panning institutions like his.
He even visited the Guide’s headquarters demanding proof that a Michelin reviewer had actually eaten there in recent times. Michelin was much calmer than the Chef in their reply.
“It’s not because Marc Veyrat hasn’t seen one of our inspectors that they didn’t dine at his table,” said Michelin’s International Chief Gwendal Poullennec. “Michelin Guide inspectors visit restaurants the world over in anonymous fashion. They pay their bills like any other customer.”
When a frustrated Veyrat insisted that the Guide remove his resto from its pages, rather than have it embarrass him by lowering his rating. Michelin refused: “If the establishment remains open and our inspectors mark its food as worthy of one of our distinctions, we will continue to recommend it,” Poullennec explained. It’s not up to the restaurateurs whether their establishments are listed or not.
If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen, an old adage goes.
That would be my recommendation to M. Veyrat. While I’d really like to know whether he was framed over the ‘Cheddar In The Soufflé Scandal’, or whether the reviewer responsible for removing one of his stars made a mistake, I’m more concerned about diners who pay top dollar for culinary adventures at restaurants like La Maison du Bois getting their money’s worth.
The Michelin Guide and its stars once had a very good reason for existing. Now, I’m not so sure. I say, let the food, service and décor speak for themselves.
~ Maggie J.