Top French chef and restaurateur Bernard Loiseau was found shot dead at his home in Saulieu, Burgundy on Monday afternoon in a suspected suicide.
The 52-year-old, whose restaurant group is listed on the Paris stock exchange, is survived by his wife, Dominique, and their three children.
Loiseau’s Cote D’Or restaurant in Saulieu enjoyed a three-star rating from the respected Michelin guide, but the French gourmet guide Gault-Millau had recently reduced the restaurant’s rating to 17 out of 20, from a previous rating of 19 out of 20.
Speculation has since focused on the regrading as a possible reason for the suspected suicide.
One of Loiseau’s close friends and fellow chef Paul Bocuse blamed the Gault-Millau downgrading for Loiseau’s death.
“He was very hurt by what they did. Our reputations are very fragile. When you are at the top of your profession in this job, and suddenly you are brought down, it can hit you very hard,” he told LCI, as quoted by Caterer.com.
Gault-Millau president Patrick Mayenob said he did not think the regrading could have been responsible for the tragedy.
“We still had a very high regard for his culinary skills,” Mayenob said.
A Burgundy police spokesman said an investigation into the death has been opened: “We know he took the downgrading very badly, and that could have contributed to the suspected suicide.”