Michelin has declined to take back the remaining stars from Marc Veyrat’s La Maison des Bois in Manigod, eastern France, after the chef was dropped down to two in the latest edition of the nation’s guide.
The highly regarded chef who had spearheaded France’s molecular gastronomy movement demanded his restaurant be removed entirely from the listings following its demotion – arguing that he believed inspectors had not visited the site.
In a letter seen by French magazine, Le Point, from the chef to the guide’s operators, 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 could see your deep incompetence. It scares me for new generations.
“Indeed, the only reason given was that you had confused the reblochon and Beaufort emulsion with cheddar, it is a shame for the region. You are manipulators of gastronomy, you do not know anything about the identity of the terroir. ”
However the guide has declined to remove Veyrat’s restaurant from the guide, leaving him with eight stars in the red book in total.
The guide’s director Gwendal Poullennec told Le Monde: “I see that when he was promoted, he came on stage to receive his reward, put the three stars on his website and on all the panels that lead to his establishment. When he lost a star, he criticized our methods. Accepting the promotion and rejecting the downgrade, I’m sorry, it’s bad faith. ”
He added: “Michelin stars do not belong to the chefs, they are not theirs to return.”
It is not the first time the guide’s top accolade has been less than well received – with Marco Pierre-White serving as the most famous example when he became the youngest chef to receive three stars and the first to return them.
Earlier this year he told The Caterer he believed the guide had stepped away from its core mission, and accused it of baiting headlines with its decisions.
He said: “When Derek Brown was the head inspector of the UK and Monsieur [Bernard] Naegellen was the head inspector in France and really the boss of Europe, then I understood what Michelin was and what it represented. Naegellen said it took a chef eight to 10 years to win three stars; you had to show consistency over a period of time for them to have the confidence to give you three stars.”
He added: “If I were the chief executive of Michelin, I would do the same and throw stars all over. Giving hawker stalls in Singapore Michelin stars – that’s big news. Taking the star away from Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s [in 2010] – I think it was the front page of The Times. Someone asked me my opinion and I said ‘what, they’re telling me every one-Michelin-starred restaurant in France is serving better food than Gordon at Claridge’s? Not true’.”
In 2012 Sky Gyngell quit her role at Petersham Nurseries, one year after achieving a star for the site – describing the win as a “curse”.
She added at the time: “People have certain expectations of a Michelin restaurant but we don’t have cloths on the tables and our service isn’t very formal. You know, if you’re used to eating at Marcus Wareing then they feel let down when they come here.”