French chef loses legal battle for a lost Michelin star

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PARIS – A court in France ruled on Wednesday against a famous chef who sued the Michelin Guide after his reviewers stripped his restaurant of one of his three most precious stars.

The chef, Marc Veyrat, was outraged when La Maison des Bois, his restaurant in the Haute-Savoie area of ​​France, which borders Switzerland and Italy, received a two-star rating in the 2019 guide, below the maximum rating of three stars. the previous year

Most chefs would be delighted with two Michelin stars, a state that can make a restaurant jump from darkness and financial status to international acclaim and wealth.

But Mr. Veyrat, 69, sued the guide in September in an effort to force the restaurant guide to deliver the notes of the reviewers who led to the rebate, as well as receipts for their meals.

The Nanterre court, a suburb northwest of Paris, ruled on Tuesday that Veyrat had not offered any "evidence to prove the existence of any damage,quot; caused by the guide's degradation.

Veyrat said in a telephone interview after the ruling was released that "would continue to fight the people of Michelin."

"I don't want to be part of the Michelin Guide anymore," Veyrat said. "I don't want to have to deal with these people. They are bad, bad, bad."

Richard Malka, a lawyer for the company that publishes the Michelin Guide, said the decision was a victory for freedom of expression. He has accused Mr. Veyrat of trying to restrict the freedom enjoyed by the guide's reviewers to distribute criticism or praise as they see fit.

"Marc Veyrat complained about a review that is really good, since it has two stars, and said it was not normal," Malka said. "But like any public personality, Mr. Veyrat is subject to criticism and opinions."

Of the thousands of restaurants in France listed in the 2019 guide, only 27 received three stars.

La Maison des Bois, which is combined with a five-star hotel, has stunning views of the Alps, including Mont Blanc. Mr. Veyrat has said that he mainly uses local products for meals, which are available on menus at € 295 and € 395, or about $ 330 and $ 440.

In 2018, the Michelin Guide awarded the restaurant three stars for the first time. He returned to two stars in the 2019 guide.

Mr. Veyrat, who comes from the Haute-Savoie area, said he felt "insulted,quot; for being degraded. In July, he asked the guide to strip his restaurant of his other two stars, arguing that the degradation had caused him a nervous breakdown.

Guide officials met with the chef to explain the decision, but Gwendal Poullenec, the international head of the Michelin Guides, said Mr. Veyrat's restaurant could not be completely eliminated.

"The stars of the Michelin Guide do not belong to chefs," said Mr. Poullenec in an interview with Le Monde in July. "It is not up to them to give up on them."

On Tuesday, Mr. Veyrat, known for his black shepherd hat and candor, said Michelin critics ignored Savoyard cuisine and compared them to "professors who make more mistakes than their students." He argued, for example, that he had confused Reblochon, a soft cheese from the area, with Cheddar.