Suicide of French star chef blamed on Michelin guide woes
Published 24/01/2013 | 05:00
The Michelin Guide has been accused of a cover-up over the suicide of the leading French chef Bernard Loiseau.
Previously unseen documents suggested that Michelin had told him it had serious reservations about the quality of his restaurant months before he shot himself.
Ten years ago, Loiseau was France's most feted chef. Robert de Niro would drop in by helicopter for his signature dish of frog's legs with garlic puree and parsley sauce.
But on February 24, 2003, the chef told his 10-year-old son – one of three children – to go and play outside, went upstairs, locked the bedroom door and shot himself with a hunting rifle, a present from his wife.
His wife, Dominique, who took over the restaurant, described it as a "moment of madness" from a "manic depressive" who was "capable of great moments of euphoria and periods of deep anxiety".
Loiseau was known to be obsessed with losing a Michelin star, saying it would cost him "40 per cent" of his business.
Michelin denied ever threatening to withdraw a star, which Loiseau's restaurant ended up keeping. But 'L'Express' magazine has published a note by the guide's then-head, Derek Brown, that suggests otherwise.
Minutes from a 2002 meeting recount how he gave the Loiseaus a serious dressing down.
"Visibly 'shocked', (Loiseau) took me seriously. We'll see," the note said.
(© Daily Telegraph, London)