The Tragic Death Of Celebrity Chef Benoît Violier

Benoît Violier was considered to be an extremely talented chef that was a magician in the kitchen. According to the New York Times, he was believed to be a perfectionist. His Swiss eatery, the Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville in Lausanne was named the top restaurant globally in rankings released by the French Foreign Ministry in 2015 (via CNBC). The eatery had three Michelin stars and was Violier's dream come true.

Violer was born in France on August 22, 1971 and was raised in a family of accomplished winemakers. Cooking was his ultimate passion and he stayed true to it, as per the Guardian. The chef once said, "It's my life. I go to sleep with cooking, I wake up to cooking." Having achieved great success, his sudden death in 2016 sent shockwaves throughout the culinary industry. Many of his peers couldn't fathom how something like this could have happened. Marc Veyrat, a three-star chef, said at the time that he was "destroyed" by the news. "The planet has been orphaned by this exceptional chef," he said.

His passing led to several discussions

Violier's cause of death was believed to be a case of suicide, something that didn't make sense to those who knew him, according to the Guardian. His colleagues couldn't help but question whether the celebrity chef fell prey to stress, a problem that's rampant in the culinary world. What makes things worse is the fact that chefs are expected to put up a brave front (via New York Times). Chef Gabriel Waterhouse said that the industry is fairly cutthroat and brutal to be in. "People are quite macho in the industry...and people don't feel they can really talk about their problems or the stresses of what is being asked of them," he explained. 

Chef Frédy Girardet, who knew Violier well, said that he was "stunned" to hear about his passing. "I can see no motive for such an act," Girardet added. "He was a brilliant young man, with enormous talent and an impressive work potential. He gave the impression of being perfect." These days, those struggling in the restaurant industry do have a few resources they can turn to. One example is Restaurant After Hours, a nonprofit that provides support to those struggling with their mental health. Ben's Friends is another support group for chefs coupled with Chow, I Got Your Back, and The Giving Kitchen among others.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.