“The French-Swiss chef Benoît Violier, who scaled the heights of gastronomy to preside over a small Swiss restaurant that was named the best in the world in December, has died in what appears to have been a suicide, according to the police. He was 44.”—the New York Times
The food community woke up today to the news that their ranks were again diminished. And, yet again, it was by a chef’s own hand. This has to stop, and it’s not going to until we have a frank, public discussion about mental health and destigmatize the issues that are harming and killing us so that people can go and get the help they need.
I’ll be talking about this more in the coming week, but in the meantime, here are some resources for people in crisis—some specifically for people in the hospitality industry.
Please be kind to the person next to you. They may be walking toward the edge. You can help pull them back.
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My industry makes me cringe. Too much stress. Utterly saddened by the death of Chef Benoit Violier. https://t.co/WU6UkSnvna
— hugh acheson (@HughAcheson) February 1, 2016
There aren't many left like this. Benoît Violier was one of the last true "haute" chefs- pushing boundaries with discriminating technique and style- inspired by the modern age but grounded in centuries of tradition. A true G. Our industry is failing these heroes of cuisine. They battle silent wars of immense pressure- both internal and external. The product and the passion becomes more important than the self. The bells toll today not just for Benoît, his family and the family of l'Hotel de Villebut, but for the whole Michelin family. It is time we recognize that intense demands require intense analysis and antidote. Rest in peace, Chef. "Un bon repas doit commencer par la faim". ????