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News rocked the gastronomic world today when Marc Veyrat, the chef at La Maison des Bois in Manigod (Haute-Savoie, France), announced that he wanted to withdraw from the Michelin Guide and return his two stars.
The French chef, known for his signature black hat, who had already been down graded from three stars last January, explained his decision in a long letter revealed by French newspaper, Le Point. However, in a coup de theater: the Michelin Guide has refused to remove La Maison des Bois from their listing.
Why does Marc Veryat want to return his two stars?
"I've been depressed for six months, how dare you take the health of your chefs hostage?" wrote Marc Veyrat who claimed that losing his third star last March was "worse than the loss of his parents".
"We are not removing La Maison des Bois restaurant from the Michelin Guide, and if the establishment remains open and our inspectors evaluate the table for one of our awards, we will continue to recommend it," said Gwendal Poullenec, director of the red guide, to AFP.
In his letter published in Le Point, Marc Veyrat denounced "the deep incompetence" of inspectors and the Michelin guide in general, recalling some false claims according to him: "They dared to say that we put cheddar in our soufflé of reblochon, Beaufort and tomme! They have insulted our region, my employees were furious! ... "When we have eggs from our chickens, milk from our cows, and two botanists collect our plants every morning!", he recalled.
In his letter, the chef in the hat also queries if inspectors every really visited his establishment, something he already doubted last March. "I expressly want invoices (...) You have a balance sheet, you should be able to find this evidence ... [...] You are impostors who only want clashes for commercial reasons," he concluded.
"It's not because Chief Veyrat did not see our inspectors that they did not have dinner at his table, Michelin Guide inspectors visit tables all over the world anonymously. They pay their bill like any other customer, " responded Gwendal Poullennec adding that "they will continue to visit La Maison des Bois."
Last January, Marc Veyrat was not the only one to whom the Michelin guide had withdrawn his third star since Marc Haeberlin had received the same sanction. The head of La Maison des Bois thus accuses "the new generation" of the Michelin guide of "attacking the institutions". "It's serious for all those who come behind us" but "it's not Michelin that will make me fall".
"Marc Veyrat is a talented chef who has trained exceptional chefs, a major figure in French gastronomy, we are saddened by the suffering, the situation he is going through, but we will continue to recommend his restaurant" concluded the international director of the guide.