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French Chef Sues Michelin Guide Over ‘Cheddar-in-My-Soufflé’ Claim

Celebrity chef Marc Veyrat claims that his Michelin-starred restaurant was downgraded because an inspector wrongly identified cheddar cheese in a soufflé

FRANCE-JUSTICE-TRIAL-GASTRONOMY JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images

The French celebrity chef Marc Veyrat who last year saw his restaurant La Maison des Bois demoted by the prestigious Michelin guide is suing the company over what he says is a false claim an inspector made over the inclusion of cheddar cheese in a soufflé.

Veyrat, whose restaurant, located in Manigod in the French Alps, went from holding the maximum three Michelin stars to two in January, demanded his restaurant was removed from the guide altogether. In July this year, he accused the inspectors of “profound incompetence” in an open letter, published in Le Pointe.

Now, the outspoken chef is suing the French tyre company and awards body. As reported in the Guardian, Veyrat is now claiming to have been dishonoured and that his restaurant was demoted — at least in part — because of what he says is a false accusation of there being English cheddar in a soufflé, which he says contained only three French cheeses: reblochon, beaufort, and tomme. The chef contests that the Michelin inspector’s mistaken identification of cheddar was a result of his adding saffron to the dish, thus giving it a yellow hue. “That’s what you call knowledge of a place? It’s just crazy,” he said.

His case requests that Michelin not only prove an inspector dined at his restaurant. More, Veyrat’s lawyer Emmanuel Ravanas is asking the court to force Michelin to hand over documents “to clarify the exact reasons” behind its judgement. A court hearing has been set for 27 November in Nanterre, west of Paris.

“For decades, Marc Veyrat has been used to having his cooking graded, evaluated and compared, and he knows quite well that you don’t own a star for life... He accepts it all, as long as the criticism is accurate,” Ravanas told AFP.

Michelin yesterday responded to the claim: The company said it “understands the disappointment for Mr Veyrat, whose talent no one contests, even if we regret his unreasonable persistence with his accusations.”

”Our first duty is to tell consumers why we have changed our recommendation. We will carefully study his demands and respond calmly,” Michelin’s statement added.

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