A Sad Loss

A Sad Loss

Benoit ViolierWhat a sad loss there has been to the world of gastronomy occasioned by the untimely death of chef Benoît Violier, who committed suicide at the age of 44.

Voted the best chef in the world by his peers, Benoît headed the eponymously-named restaurant at Crissier, just outside Lausanne in Switzerland. The building which housed his restaurant had already been made world-famous by the two preceding chefs, Philippe Rochat, Benoît’s mentor and HIS mentor, the ubiquitous Frédy Giradet, who put the restaurant on the world stage over 40 years ago.

Pressures to succeed in this business are enormous, especially when you are perceived to be at the top – there have been other casualties of this kind in the past, but nevertheless, this has come as a huge shock to me.

Violier's kitchenI had the great fortune to eat at Benoît’s restaurant only once, in 2012, just a few months after he took over and the memory of that meal stands out today as if it were only yesterday. It was certainly one of the best meals I have ever had, the more so because it was so CLASSICALLY brilliant.

Game was Benoîts passion and the plethora of different birds and beasts on the menu that day was truly amazing. It was also here that I first encountered the Amigne de Vetroz wine from a tiny hamlet in the Valais and there were other local wines rubbing shoulders with the international giants from all over the world.

I did write a blog about this meal on the old Wine behind the label website, and as my lasting tribute to this wonderful chef, I am repeating it again here on the new website (here is the link), sad in the knowledge that I will never taste his food again.

My heart goes out to his family. RIP.

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