A good piece by The New Yorker on the mysterious procedures of the world’s foremost guide to fine dining. Here is a choice quote:
Bernard Loiseau, the chef and owner of La Côte d’Or, once told a fellow-chef that if he ever lost one of his Michelin stars he would kill himself. Loiseau had made a life’s ambition of becoming a three-star chef, a goal he achieved in 1991, seventeen years after arriving at La Côte d’Or. His ranking led to a line of frozen food bearing his name and likeness, and the Legion of Honor, awarded by President François Mitterrand. But by 2002 Loiseau’s classic cooking was losing ground to trendier fusion styles, business was slowing, and he was swimming in debt. As Rudolph Chelminski relates in his 2005 book “The Perfectionist,” the food writer François Simon published a story in Le Figaro hinting that Loiseau was on thin ice with Michelin. Loiseau, who had suffered periodic depression for years, sank into despair. In early February, 2003, he was notified by Michelin that he would keep his third star. Still, Simon wrote another piece, in which he suggested that Loiseau and his third star were “living on borrowed time.” Two and a half weeks later, after a day at work in the kitchen, Loiseau killed himself with a shotgun blast to the head. He was fifty-two.