In a letter seen by Le Point Marc Veyrat, whose La Maison des Bois restaurant in the Haute Savoie was demoted from three to two stars by the red book in January, hit out at the “amateurism” of Michelin inspectors and asked to withdraw from its pages.
He wrote: “I have been depressed for six months. How dare you take the health of your chefs hostage?”
Veyrat, known for his signature black hat, questioned whether Michelin inspectors had ever even eaten at La Maison des Bois and demanded to see evidence of their visit.
He also criticised the guide representatives’ “deep incompetence” and knowledge of food.
“They dared to say we put cheddar in our soufflé reblochon, beaufort and Tomme! They insulted the area, my employees were crazy!” he said, according to Le Monde. “While we have the eggs of our chickens, that we milk the milk of our cows, that two botanists will pick our plants every morning!”
Veyrat was also cynical of Michelin’s decision to take away his restaurant’s three-star rating just one year after it was awarded. “You are imposters who only want clashes for commercial reasons,” he wrote.
Michelin is refusing to allow the chef to hand back his stars. International guide director Gwendal Poullennec, who took up the the post last year, said in a statement to Le Monde: "We are not removing the restaurant La Maison des Bois from the Michelin guide. If the institution remains open and our inspectors evaluate the table at one of our awards, we will continue to recommend it.”
This is not the first time a French chef has asked to withdraw from the red book. Sebastian Bras’ Le Suquet in Laguiole, which held three stars for 18 years, was left out of the 2018 Michelin Guide France at his request after he admitted to struggling with the pressure that came with the awards.
But this year Bras was surprised to find his restaurant had re-entered the 2019 edition with two stars.
In an interview with Centre Presse Aveyron Bras said the decision to re-include Le Suquet was “strange” and felt Michelin was sending a message that “a restaurant has no choice but to live under pressure”.