Recipe for Tragedy

We are selling dreams. we are merchants of happiness," chef Bernard Loiseau once said. The ebullient Loiseau ran one of only 25 restaurants in France to be awarded three stars by the all-powerful Michelin guide. His Côte d'Or restaurant in the Burgundy region of France is a shrine to detail, to perfection on a plate. And like the other markets for dreams and happiness — films, say, or fashion or narcotics — it was a brutal pursuit. Loiseau had not taken a vacation in four years. He had planned one for this winter, but last week another French restaurant guide, GaultMillau,...

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