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“I never want the Michelin (inspectors) in here,” said Veyrat.
Instead, the chef wants to “put stars in the eyes of his diners”, with his famed ‘Botanical Gastronomy’ which earned him three Michelin stars at his flagship restaurant La Maison des Bois, in the French Alps.
It was the loss of that restaurant’s third star that triggered a reaction from the chef, claiming the demotion sent him into a deep depression. The chef brought a case against the Michelin Guide for what he claimed was incompetence on the part of the inspectors.
Veyrat claimed that the inspectors mistakenly put cheddar in one of his soufflé dishes, leading the world’s media to dub the case ‘Cheddar Gate’.
When dismissing the case, the judge referenced the fact that Veyrat was unable to show any lack of earnings at his restaurant, in fact the publicity around the case saw reservations surge at his restaurant.
While Veyrat has intimated that he will appeal the verdict, the case seems to have had no negative effects on the eccentric chef, in fact he seems to be thriving.
However, he still couldn’t resist a dig at the Michelin Guide and made it known that Michelin inspectors are not welcome in his Paris establishment.
“Who do they take themselves for?” he declared. “I have trained seven three-star chefs, 21 two-star ones and I don’t know how many who have one star.
“But they want to put us back in basic training as if we hadn’t 50 years of know-how and experience to draw upon,” he added.
The menu at his La Fontaine Gaillon will include scallops perfumed with wild hogweed and served with a puree of dates with a lemongrass emulsion, as well as freshwater fish, flavoured with 60 different mountain herbs.
Yeyrat will also fresh Savoyard cheeses, charcuterie, pine cones and butters delivered directly from their producers. There is no cheddar on the menu.
The timing of Veyrat’s new restaurant is noteworthy, coming a week after the release of the Michelin Guide to France 2020 just last week. The release of the guide was mired in controversy as legendary restaurant Paul Bocuse also lost a star.
That means Veyrat’s new restaurant won’t be eligible for a Michelin star until next year, but as we know, it seems there’s no surer way to get included in the guide than saying you don’t want to be in it. ‘Cheddar Gate’ is not over for a long time and this story will mature over time.