Top French Chef Quits After Alleged Hazing Incident

Kitchen hand was allegedly tied to chair naked at luxury hotel
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2023 7:11 AM CST
Top French Chef Quits After Alleged Hazing Incident
The gate to the historic Hotel du Palais in Biarritz.   (Getty Images/Jean-Luc Ichard)

A top French chef, possibly unable to handle the heat after disturbing reports of the hazing of a staff member, has gotten out of the kitchen. Aurélien Largeau, head chef of the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, southwest France, left his job last week, the BBC reports. Hyatt, which runs the luxury hotel, says it launched an investigation after it was made aware of "concerning allegations and imagery regarding an incident in the premises of the hotel." Sources told French newspaper Sud L'Ouest that Largeau and other chefs were present while a young, naked kitchen hand was tied to a chair for hours.

"Videos were recorded and shared on social media, showing the victim with an apple in his mouth and a carrot in his buttocks," the newspaper said, per CNN. The footage has now reportedly been removed from social media. "The incident did not reflect the strong values we all stand for, and the appropriate decisions have now been taken," Hyatt said in a statement. "The security, wellness, and wellbeing of our colleagues, guests, and partners are always our utmost priorities."

Police have opened an investigation into the alleged incident. Largeau, 31, started his career at the Biarritz restaurant and worked at other Michelin-starred establishments before returning to the hotel in 2020, the Telegraph reports. His signature dish is blue lobster with pine needles. He described reports of the alleged hazing as defamatory and a "monstrous attack" on his honor. AFP reports that hazing is illegal in France but it persists in some restaurants despite campaigns against it, including one called "Hands Off My Kitchen Hand." (More chef stories.)

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