Wednesday 25 April 2018

Mystery shrouds death of French superchef who ran 'the world's best restaurant'

Benoit Violier
Benoit Violier

Henry Samuel in Paris

Mystery shrouds the death of the French chef who ran 'the world's best restaurant' after Benoît Violier was found dead at his Swiss home in an apparent suicide, casting a cloud over the revered Michelin guide's new star ratings.

Sources close to the 44-year-old said the discreet and universally admired superchef had been troubled in recent days following surprise news and had "not been the same man" since.

His shock death sent tremors through the gastronomic world on the launch of this year's edition of the prestigious Michelin food guide, which observed a minute's silence for him.

It has also re-ignited debate over whether cooks are equipped to deal with the merciless pressures that come with culinary stardom and a brutal kitchen culture.

Crissier, near the south-western Swiss city of Lausanne, is home to Violier's restaurant, Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville.

"Late on (Sunday) afternoon, police... went to Crissier where they discovered at his home the body of Mr Benoit Violier," said Swiss police, adding that it appeared he had shot himself with his hunting rifle.

Mr Violier's apparent suicide came just weeks after his restaurant was crowned the best of 1,000 top eateries across 48 countries ranked by France's La Liste .

Mr Violier said at the time: "It's wonderful, it's exceptional for us. This ranking will only motivate our team more."

Franck Pinay-Rabaroust, who runs the top Atabula food website, said Mr Violier had appeared on "top form" when he interviewed him a few weeks ago. "He was smiling, loved his job and seemed very sure of himself and his cuisine. He was at the summit of his art and had received unanimous plaudits from guides and his peers," he said.

However, a source close to Mr Violier said something had happened last Tuesday in the restaurant and that he had been "troubled ever since and was not the same man".

Irish Independent

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