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Chef Loses Unusual Court Fight Over Critique

Marc Veyrat sued the Michelin Guide when it demoted his restaurant
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2019 1:21 PM CST

(Newser) – Some chefs don't care about getting three stars in the Michelin Guide. French chef Marc Veyrat cares very much. So much, in fact, that he took Michelin to court to force a full explanation of why his restaurant got demoted from three stars to two. The court, however, has just ruled in Michelin's favor, reports the Guardian. The strange case became known as a "cheddar gate" because when Veyrat's La Maison des Bois restaurant was demoted, the chef claimed Michelin's food inspector mistakenly believed he had put pedestrian cheddar into a souffle. Veyrat said he used the spice saffron in the souffle, surmising that the inspector was misled by the yellow color.

In any event, he sued, demanding a full accounting by Michelin, which responded by calling him a "narcissistic diva" with an out-of-control ego, per the BBC. Veyrat "wants France to abandon the principle that restaurant critics should have the freedom to have an opinion because his restaurant has two stars rather than three; because La Maison des Bois is judged to be just excellent rather than brilliant,” said Michelin attorney Richard Malka. Among other things, the French court ruled that Veyrat had not shown that the demotion to two stars had caused him any actual damage. In fact, the chef told AFP that business has been unusually brisk of late. (Read more Michelin Guide stories.)

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