Posted on | January 24, 2013 | 9 Comments
Ten years ago, Loiseau was France’s most feted chef. The charismatic cook’s beaming face smiled from billboards, TV shows and recipe books. His restaurant, Le Relais Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu, Burgundy was a favourite with the late president François Mitterrand.
Robert de Niro would drop in by helicopter for his signature dish of frog’s legs with garlic purée and parsley sauce.
But on February 24, 2003, the chef finished his lunchtime service, rolled up his apron and drove home. Telling his ten-year old son — one of three children — to go and play outside, he went upstairs, locked the bedroom door and shot himself in the head with a hunting rifle, a present from his wife.
What happened? Loiseau had been privately warned by the editor of the Michelin travel guides that his restaurant was in danger of being demoted from the coveted three-star ranking. Michelin denied it at the time of Loiseau’s suicide, and tried to fix the blame on other critics, but a just-discovered note confirmed the truth.
The night manager at Waffle House doesn’t have any self-esteem issues, but the great French chef couldn’t stand to be a mere two-star chef.
(Hat tip: T.R. Sterling.)