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The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine


On the evening of February 24 2003, an astounding story broke into French radio and TV news bulletins, then raced around the world: Bernard Loiseau, ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine

Overall customer rating: 4.500
Jacquelyn G
by Jacquelyn G on Jul 16, 2010

Lots of insightful information on the development and growth of French Haute Cuisine. Mr. Chelminski does a great job taking the history of French cuisine and ties it in with Bernard Loiseau, the French chef who reached a pinnacle of success but took his own life. Mr. Chelmenski relates the pressures, expectations and desires each chef looking to be recognized by Michelin experiences.


Ambition, success, tragedy, history

by schermie on Jan 22, 2009

Bernard Loiseau began like most good French chefs, as the kitchen helper of the best chef who would hire him. Competition among chefs for good ratings in the Michelin Red Guide was fierce, with a three-star the most coveted. Loiseau, coming into his own as a chef, successfully navigated the competition, becoming a national star, awarded the Legion of Honor, and appearing on television. His famous restaurant in Saulieu, transforming a decade hotel into a superb inn, was visited by the rich and famous, and cemented his reputation. But his reputation was built on a type of cuisine. In time, when tastes changed and younger chefs made their names in new recipes, the trade began to lag. Despite a good business, Loiseau could not stand the humiliation of being reduced to only two Michelin stars, and comitted suicide. But his brilliant wife, Dominique, and his prize-winning chef, Patrick Bertron, carried on and operate the inn and restaurant today. An excellent read by a prominent American writer who has lived in France for thirty years.

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