The world’s top chef, Benoit Violier, who ran the restaurant L’Hotel de Ville in Crissier near Lausanne, was found dead in his apartment on Sunday night. The canton Vaud police confirmed that the 44-year-old’s death was a suicide.
Violier, a citizen of France and recently of Switzerland, took over the restaurant in 2012 with his wife. The L’Hotel de Ville was named the world’s best restaurant in December by France’s La Liste, and had been awarded three Michelin stars and 19 out of 20 Gault Millau points.
Members of the gastronomy community expressed their sadness and shock via the social media on Sunday.
"Great chef, great man, enormous talent. All our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of Benoit Violier," wrote French chef Paul Bocuse.
“Terribly saddened by the sudden death of Benoit Violier. My thoughts go out to his family, his team. I’m speechless,” wrote Anne-Sophie Pic, head chef at the hotel Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne.
Only seven months ago, the restaurant's previous owner and Violier's mentor, star chef Philippe Rochat, died while bicycling.
And another star French chef, Bernard Loiseau, also committed suicide in 2003.
Violier's death is under investigation. He had been scheduled to attend the launch of the new Michelin guide in Paris on Monday.