Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > France >
Feb 6, 2014 03:25 AM

Burgundy Stars

Following a recent recommendation on Twitter, I have just finished reading 'Burgundy Stars' by William Echikson which (if you haven't read ) offers a very interesting insight into Bernard Loiseau's desperate quest for his third Michelin star.

I am just wondering if there any other books covering similar ground (ie the power and influence of Michelin/ a particular chef's search for a star) that anyone would recommend?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. "desperate quest for his third Michelin star"
    No book but I was the interpreter of an interview of the widow 2 months ago. She said her husband had been suffering from depression, that he had been informed he would be getting the 3rd star any way, that a negative review, intimating that he would not get the star depressed him further. She was very clear about not blaming the star-or-no-star issue. She seemed to blame herself more for not seeing it coming.
    She obviously has no reason to be reductive or trivializing of this tragedy.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Bernard Loiseau HAD 3 stars at the time of his death. He was afraid he would lose one, or so went the tale.

      I have to say his food was some of the best I have ever eaten.... and that was a long time ago to remember a meal.

      1. re: ChefJune

        No. He was not afraid he would lose a star, that's a false rumor that was spread last year through a French article based on incomplete research.
        I know the story rather well, having been close to the event at the time, but you'll understand this is not a subject I am willing to get into here. Or anywhere on the Net.

        1. re: Ptipois

          Removed my own reply. Indeed we should not discuss it like this.

          1. re: Ptipois

            Pti - It was rumored long before last year -
            I agree this is not a subject for the Internet.

            1. re: John Talbott

              I mean that the rumor was presented as evidence. Which it was not. You're right, let's talk about something else.

      2. No there's nothing like "Burgundy Stars" and yes he was depressed according to my psychiatric colleagues and she gave him the gun he killed himself with.
        The only things close are Food Business : La face cachée de la gastronomie française de Olivier Morteau and Francois Simon and Pudlo's books around the same time.
        I did reviews of all while still at eGullet.

        1. Interesting stuff. It's incredibly impressive what Dominique has achieved really- I understand she now owns a few other restauarants in addition to the 'flagship'.

          Just to clarify I really didnt mean in any way to triviliaze the tragedy. In any case Burgundy Stars was written long before Bernard's death and was more about the period immediately preceeding the third star and his immense drive to achieve this.

          One of the particularly interesting aspects of the book I found was Bernard's relationship with and admiration of France's other elite chefs namely Bocuse and Troisgros.

          1. Thanks John- I will be sure to look into the books you mention below.

            4 Replies
            1. re: WillJones26

              WillJones, There's another book, "The Perfectionist," about Bernard Loiseau you might enjoy.

              1. re: ChefJune

                Sorry Chef June, I didn't scroll down far enough to see that you had just recommended the same book.

                1. re: francaise

                  no problem, francaise.

                  I have such fond memories of luncheon at La Cote d'Or. Chef Loiseau was so much fun to be around. He kept dancing in and out of the dining room while we were enjoying our feast. And when my group gathered in front of the bus for a group shot before we left, he ran out and got into the photo.

                2. re: ChefJune

                  Having just finished reading 'The Perfectionist' I have to thank both ChefJune and Francaise for recommending it; a really fantastically written book.

                  PhilD- I have caught bits of 'Boiling Point' on Youtube and it is certainly a very entertaining watch but Ramsay is unwatchably vile at points! I must say that it also came across to me that Marcus Wareing was living out of GR's backside at that time- with the editing it seemed that every time Ramsay went for a coffee, MW was there with no obvious reason to be too.. It was interesting to see a couple of today's bigger names in the earlier stages of their careers (ie. Paul Ainsworth).

              2. Another good book to read on this very subject of Bernard Loiseau is "The Perfectionist - Life and Death in Haute Cuisine" by journalist Rudolph Chelminski who had befriended Loiseau three decades before his rise to the top. Published in 2005 by Gotham Books.