Didnt see this posted anywhere - How sad! =(
PARIS (Reuters) - The pronouncements of France's mighty food guides have always been able to make or break a restaurant in this food-obsessed country
But the critics themselves faced criticism Tuesday after top chef Bernard Loiseau was found shot dead in an apparent suicide following the decision by the renowned GaultMillau guide to cut its rating for his flagship restaurant in Burgundy.
A self-styled perfectionist who once said he wanted to be to food what Brazilian (news - web sites) star Pele was to soccer, 52-year-old Loiseau was found dead at his home in the Burgundy town of Saulieu Monday afternoon, his own hunting rifle at his side.
Police sources said an autopsy later Tuesday would establish the circumstances of his death. While few doubted any other conclusion than suicide, GaultMillau vigorously defended itself against the accusations flung its way saying Loiseau had other problems.
Police provided no immediate details. Famed restaurateur Paul Bocuse said his friend was devastated with the 17 out of 20 awarded to his Cote d'Or establishment in the 2003 guide, down from the 19 out of 20 score of last year.
"I think GaultMillau killed him. When you are leader of the pack and all of a sudden they cut you down, it's hard to understand. It hit him hard," Bocuse, high priest of sophisticated "nouvelle cuisine" cooking, told LCI television.
But GaultMillau director Patrick Mayenobe said: "As early as 2000, he told us that if he went from a score of 19 to 17, he would relish the challenge involved in returning to the peak.
"This great chef certainly had other problems," he said.
OMG, how awful. His identify was his work.
He was probably a great person.
I heard about this on the BBC this morning; in that story they said the chefs of France were casting blame on the GaultMillau for setting such high standards that the stress was unbearable. While the suicide is tragic no matter the cause, I found that perspective startling!
The pressure on these top chefs in France is really unbelievable. I don't think Americans can fully relate to how revered the top chefs/restaurants are in France or to how important excellent food is to the French. I guess it would be equivalent to a top businessman here being despondent over the loss of his business/investigation into his practices.
I recently read a fantastic book called From Here You Can't See Paris, which focused on a restaurant in southern France. Part of the discussion in the book was the Michelin stars and the system mentioned in the article. The chef featured in the book was considered a disappointment in some ways (including to himself) because he had never earned any Michelin stars (even though he was a fantastic chef).
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