Bitter New Years Eve for Chef Marc Veyrat Loses Lawsuit Against Michelin Guide
The famous Michelin guide does not have to reveal its mysteries: the French chef Marc Veyrat, who wanted to know why one of his restaurants had been deprived of his third star in January, was dismissed by French justice on Tuesday.
M arch Veyrat believed that downshifting from three to two-star restaurant La Maison des Bois in Manigod, in eastern France, the gastronomic guide had made “a mistake”. “They confused the dishes, (…) they mixed everything,” he lamented Tuesday, interviewed by AFP.
But the court of Nanterre, near Paris, ruled that the renowned chief in the black hat, aged 69, had produced “no document relating to the existence of damage and the reality” of the damage.
Through the voice of his lawyer Emmanuel Ravanas, Mars Veyrat had asked, at the hearing at the end of November, to obtain evidence of the guide’s inspections and of the skills of his inspectors, as well as “the trace of the debates” which led to the downgrading of his establishment.
The restaurant, which had obtained its third star in 2018, was decommissioned barely a year later.
After an unsuccessful meeting in March with the director of the Michelin guide, the famous chef had therefore sued him and had demanded a symbolic euro for compensation for the damage suffered. He said he was “in depression” after the loss of this third star.
“Marc Veyrat cannot be satisfied with simple observations of truncated and redacted ushers by way of any answer to his legitimate questions. Any student subject to an examination has the right of access to a copy, ”reacted Me Ravanas on Tuesday.
“Very affected”, Marc Veyrat “can only continue to think that the restaurant La Maison des Bois was the victim of an error of assessment with inspectors who notably confused a complex recipe based on Savoyard products with a vulgar slice cheddar, “he added.
“If I am told:” Mr. Veyrat, your cooking is not as good as before “, I accept everything. I respect the Michelin, I say: “Amen, we are going to do what is necessary”, but there it is incredible criteria “, for his part commented to AFP Mr. Veyrat.
However, the court considered that the documents he had produced were “insufficient to demonstrate the existence of a legitimate reason such as to justify a disproportionate interference with the independence of assessment constituting freedom of ‘expression of guide inspectors’.
And the court recalled that this freedom was “guaranteed” by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
“It should be remembered that there is no particular legal protection for food critics,” retorted Ravanas in a press release.
For Richard Malka, the lawyer for the Michelin guide, it was however “the right to criticize for the benefit of consumers” which was enshrined in court.
“It is to be hoped that this decision will put an end to the media posturing and the legal ramblings of Mr. Veyrat,” Malka told AFP, saying that the plaintiff’s complaints were “malicious and completely imaginary.”
Considering the procedure launched by Mr. Veyrat abusive, the Michelin guide claimed 30,000 euros (approximately CAN $ 44,000) in damages. However, the court did not grant his request.
The French chief confirmed to AFP that he did not intend to stop there legally: “It’s not over, I’m a warrior myself.” I will not let it go, “he warned.
He nevertheless pursues “no financial objective, but the simple request to be dereferenced for a time” from the Michelin guide, said his lawyer.
Mr. Veyrat recently indicated that he saw La Maison des Bois sales increase by “7% in one year”, causing Mr. Malka, at the hearing, to say that the chief’s legal action was not than an “advertising operation”.