Marc Veyrat, the comeback king of French cuisine, was back on the top of the culinary tree Monday after the Michelin guide awarded him the maximum three stars.
The flamboyant chef, who is rarely seen without his black Savoyard hat and cape, has now won the top rating for three different restaurants over the course of his career.
Nine years after Veyrat was forced to give up cooking after a serious skiing accident and three after his alpine restaurant La Maison des Bois burned down, the 67-year-old was back at the summit of French cooking.
Known for his highly inventive creations that mix delicate infusions of wild herbs with hearty traditional Savoyard cooking, Veyrat is one of only two "new" chefs promoted this year to the elite club who hold three stars, a source told AFP.
The self-taught master, who has spent most of his life cooking in his home village of Manigod 1,600 metres (5,200 feet) up the Alps near Annecy, has twice been given the maximum 20 out of 20 score by the rival Gault-Millau guide.
Christophe Bacquie, 45, of the Castellet Hotel in the Var region of southeast France was also awarded a third star for the first time.
Only a tiny club of 28 chefs hold three stars from the Michelin guide, the bible of French gastronomy.
Last week for the first time the Michelin allowed a top French restaurant to bow out of its listings after its chef told AFP he no longer wanted to work under the "huge pressure" of being judged by its inspectors.
Sebastien Bras, whose Le Suquet restaurant in the rural Aveyron region, had held the maximum three-star rating for 18 years.
© 2018 AFP