Benoît Violier of 44 years old, a chef whose 3-star restaurant was named the best in the world just a month ago, was found dead this January 31st from an apparent suicide. He was in his home near Lausanne, in western Switzerland.
No further details were given rather than he died of a self-inflicted gunshot. His friends speculated that he may have cracked after his sudden rise to global fame.
L’Hotel de Ville, which is the name of his restaurant, was ranked first on a French government-sponsored list of the world’s top 1000 restaurants just last year. In 2013, Mr. Violier was named the best chef of the year by the influential guide of best restaurants GaultMillau Suisse, and he was also known as the “chef of chefs”.
The chef opened his establishment in 2012 with his wife, Brigitte, and both managed to keep the top position in the famous Michelin Guide. He won world appreciation for transmiting his passion for hunting through the art of cooking. He was the author of two cooking books
Benoît Violier died a few hours before the Michelin Guide released its 2016 edition for France. The awards ceremony on Paris’ chic Place Vendome began with a minute of silence for him.
Bernard Loiseau, owner of the restaurant La Côte d’Or, was another chef who commited suicide after being given the 3 stars to his restaurant. He was found dead beside a hunting rifle in 2003. Loiseau’s death followed the downgrading of his establishment by the Gault-Millau guide and there were rumors that it could also lose one of his three stars in the Michelin guide. It finally lost its third star when the 2016 Michelin guide was released
Some chefs have complained of living under the pressure and judgment of these guides that call the shots in the closed circle of the world’s best tables. Maybe, this pressure was the main cause of the chef’s suicide.
Source: The Washington Post