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Chef and guide in court over star row

Michelin guide stripped Marc Veyrat's La Maison des Bois restaurant of its coveted third star in January

A war of words broke out between a leading French chef and the Michelin guide ahead of a court case.

Reviewers from the world-famous Michelin guide stripped Marc Veyrat's La Maison des Bois restaurant of its coveted third star in January - prompting the chef to brand them 'incompetent' and claim that they had said he used English cheddar cheese in a French souffle rather than Reblochon, Beaufort and Tomme varieties.

"That they said that my soufflé was full of cheddar," he said. "The fact that they took my 'virtual scallops' to be real coquilles Saint-Jacques when they were made from ... burbot livers from Lake Geneva shows a lack of competence," he said.

The chef filed papers in court demanding to see the reviewers' private notes, and claiming €1 in symbolic damages.

But the guide has counter-sued for €30,000 in costs and compensation - and described the chef's case as 'grotesque'.

"Mr Veyrat wants France to abandon the principle that restaurant critics should have the freedom to have an opinion because his restaurant has two stars rather than three – because La Maison des Bois was judged to be just excellent rather than brilliant," the guide's lawyer told AFP.

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