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Bernard Loiseau's Widow Accuses French Paper of Manipulation, Blames Media For His Suicide

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Bernard and Dominique Loiseau
Bernard and Dominique Loiseau
Photo: Official Site

In a fiery interview with Le Point, Dominique Loiseau, widow of the late great French chef Bernard Loiseau, just absolutely tears into the French media — and, in particular, L'Express — for a January report that blamed her husband's suicide on the fear of losing his third Michelin star. In the interview, Loiseau says she wants to know how L'Express writer François-Régis Gaudry could claim to know more about her husband's suicide than do those closest to him. She further claims that the paper "manipulated the truth" and abused her and her family. And she pinpoints the moment when her husband became unstable, resulting in his suicide.

While the L'Express report pointed to an exchange between the Loiseaus and Michelin director Derek Brown as evidence that the guide was on the verge of pulling the third star from Le Relais Bernard Loiseau, Dominique Loiseau now says the Brown's note means nothing. As she explains, "The Michelin director had not spared us. But at no moment was there a question of removing the third star. ... This note proves nothing. It's a fake scoop."

Loiseau also dishes some dirt on the writer, François-Régis Gaudry, saying that Gaudry had told the family he was planning a tribute to Bernard Loiseau on the tenth anniversary of his passing. He spent the day with them, and she says she had told her daughter that, "we must open our doors and our hearts to him." Then, she says, the evening before the article was published on the magazine's website, she got word while in Tokyo that he wanted to talk to her. It was only then, Loiseau claims, that Gaudry told her the article was taking another turn. Loiseau also says that she wrote the paper a letter upon her return to France, a letter that L'Express has not published.

And that's not it: Loiseau also lashes out at Le Figaro food critic François Simon for declaring his vindication in the suicide after the L'Express report. At that point, she says, she "began to see things more clearly." Bernard Loiseau's colleagues had told Dominique that the chef had been "shaken" by Simon's 2003 article saying that the restaurant had been "legitimately threatened" by Michelin. "It's from his moment that his behavior began to change, to become incomprehensible. We couldn't reason with him. He was convinced the media wanted his skin from now on," she says. She further blames Simon for refusing to explain his use of the word "legitimately," telling Le Point, "I am firmly convinced that if François Simon had a modicum of courage and uprightness to simply explain it with Bernard, maybe we wouldn't be here."

Loiseau also denies that the restaurant's finances played into the suicide and says she's determined now to shoot down all the false theories surrounding her husband's death. As she says, "no one will divert me from my determination. Intimidation doesn't scare me. ... Bernard suffered under the media pressure. Me, I have another temperament than him. Every time the media, whatever they are, attacked his memory, I demanded reparation. Nothing ever stopped me from restoring the truth."

· Dominique Loiseau: "les vraies raisons du suicide de mon mari" [Le Point]
· Michelin Officials Accused of Cover-Up in French Chef Bernard Loiseau's Suicide [-E-]
· All Bernard Loiseau Coverage on Eater [-E-]

Le Relais Bernard Loiseau