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Bernard Daniel Jacques Loiseau (13 January 1951 – 24 February 2003) was a French chef.
He died by suicide by self-inflicted gunshot in 2003 when newspaper reports hinted that his restaurant might lose its 3-star status.
This decision was likely due to increased bouts of clinical depression.
Loiseau was born in Chamalières, in the Auvergne region of central France. He decided to become a chef as a teenager, apprenticing at the famous La Maison Troisgros run by the brothers Jean and Pierre Troisgros in Roanne between 1968 and 1971.
In 1972, Loiseau began working for restaurateur Claude Verger at La Barrière de Clichy, and was soon hailed as a prodigy by the Gault Millau guide, a proponent of the nouvelle cuisine style that emphasised lightness and freshness in contrast to the cuisine classique of traditional French gastronomy. When Verger bought the formerly prestigious La Côte d'Or of Saulieu in 1975, he installed Loiseau as chef and soon stood aside to allow him to develop a highly personal style of cuisine. Loiseau bought La Côte d'Or from Verger in 1982, and the well known Michelin Guide bestowed the coveted three-star rating on his establishment in 1991. His fanatical attention to detail, frenetic work ethic, and discerning palate, propelled him to the top of his profession, and earned him a knowledgeable and loyal, but unforgiving and demanding clientele.
Bernard Loiseau established Bernard Loiseau SA in 1998, and was the first star restaurateur to establish the concept of having one's restaurant incorporated and traded. At the time of his death, he was the only French chef traded on the stock exchange. Under Bernard Loiseau SA, Loiseau published numerous books, established a line of frozen foods, and opened three eateries in Paris, in addition to running La Côte d'Or and its adjoining boutique shop.
The French government awarded him its highest honour, the decorations of Chevalier (Knight) de la Légion d'honneur in 1994, Chevalier (Knight) de l'Ordre national du Mérite in 1986, Officier (Officer) de l'Ordre national du Mérite in 2002 and Chevalier du Mérite agricole.