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World's best chef commits suicide: the unbearable pressure of great reputation

By Yao Xinyu (People's Daily Online)    16:29, February 04, 2016
World's best chef commits suicide: the unbearable pressure of great reputation
Star chef Jean Francois Piege tweeted: 'An immense chef, an immense sadness, thoughts go out to his family and his team' (Photo/Daily Mail)

A three Michelin-starred restaurant chef Benoît Violier, 44, was found dead with a rifle by his side at home in the southwestern Swiss city of Lausanne on Jan. 31, 2016. The police ruled out the possibility of murder.

Violier ran de l'Hotel de Ville in Crissier, Switzerland, which is named the best of 1,000 top eateries across 48 countries ranked by France's La Liste. Violier, hence, can be called the “world’s best chef.”

This was not the first time a Michelin-starred restaurant chef commits suicide. News stories about Michelin star chefs’ suicide were reported in 2007 and 2013 too. According to the statistics of France Ministry of Health, 13 percent of Michelin star chefs are addicted to drugs, 27 percent of them tend to have excessive drinking. Different from those leisurely and celebrated chefs we see in romantic movies, real Michelin star chefs are under great metal stress all the time.

Chefs of Michelin-starred restaurant have to pass tests to be ranked with three stars, two stars, and one star, and the ranking of the restaurant they own will also go with their stars. For the French Michelin chef evaluating system, apart from the taste of the food, the art value of the delicacy and innovation of the chef are all important factors for the ranking. No restaurant can keep its Michelin stars with fixed delicacies. If a Michelin restaurant does not change its menu for a long time, its stars could be taken away; the title of Michelin-starred restaurant could even be deprived.

On the same day when Violier shot himself, a three Michelin-starred restaurant in France degraded to two stars because of lack of innovation in its dishes, and the prices of dishes in the restaurant have to drop accordingly. Chefs of Michelin-starred restaurant have always been worrying about the sudden visit by inspectors which might lead to the degradation of their business.

Violier's tragedy is not the first case among Michelin chefs, but hopefully it could be the last for the industry.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yao Xinyu,Bianji)

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