CNN has an article on what looks to be an interesting book. The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine by Rudolph Chelminski recounts the life and death (obviously) of French chef Bernard Loiseau. Driven to perfection, obsessed with his Michelin rating, Loiseau lived a tumultous life until his suicide in 2003. As a bit of a food geek, I remember this story being big news.
One interesting aspect of the book is that it deals with the influence of the Michelin reviewers in France. The CNN article states “‘The French have enormous faith in it,’ says Chelminski. ‘French civilization … is now cynical. There’s no faith in the church, everyone assumes politicians are corrupt and spouses cheat. Michelin is the one national symbol of unimpeachable rectitude.'” The book details what happens when a restaurant loses a star rating, such as one eatery that dropped from 3 to 2 stars and suffered a loss of half their business.