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Top Swiss chef commits suicide in Vaud village

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Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
22:30 CET+01:00
Star Swiss chef Benoît Violier, 44, committed suicide on Sunday at his home near Lausanne in the canton of Vaud, police said.

The French-Swiss chef's death was confirmed by cantonal police, who said that from the initial evidence he committed suicide. 

According to reports, he shot himself with a firearm in the village of Crissier, where he ran the Hôtel de Ville gastronomic restaurant with his wife, Brigitte.

The death comes six months after his predecessor at the restaurant, Swiss chef Philippe Rochat, died from a malaise while cycling in the region.

“It is a catastrophe for his family, for the Hôtel de Ville and for Crissier,” the village's mayor, Michel Tendon, told Lausanne's 24heures newspaper.

Violier was regarded as one of the best chefs in the world, running one of only three restaurants in Switzerland rated three stars by the Michelin Guide.

In 2013, the Swiss edition of the Gault and Millau guide named him Swiss chef of the year.

He took over the Crissier restaurant in 2012 from Rochat, a famous Swiss chef regarded by Violier as a mentor.

Under Rochat's supervision the Hôtel de Ville restaurant had maintained three Michelin stars continuously since 1998, following its ownership by Frédy Girardet, another renowned Swiss chef.

Le Temps newspaper reported that Violier was set to appear in Paris on Monday for the release of the latest Michelin Guide.

In December, he was honoured in the French capital when his restaurant was named number one in the world by "La Liste", a list of the world's top restaurants compiled for France's foreign ministry and tourism board.

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"It's a heavy responsibility, also," Violier told 24heures newspaper after receiving the award.

"We must maintain the level established by our predecessors, this rigour and concern for perfection."

The local prosecutor's office has launched an investigation into the case.
 

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