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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 February, 2003, 20:33 GMT
Hundreds mourn French chef
Employees see off the funeral cortege
Loiseau's employees waved goodbye to the funeral cortege
Top names in French cuisine have joined hundreds of mourners at the funeral of Bernard Loiseau, the celebrated chef whose suicide on Tuesday was blamed on bad reviews.

Employees walked behind the funeral cortege in the Burgundy town of Salieu, where Mr Loiseau lived, and waved goodbye as they reached his restaurant, La Cote d'Or.

Acclaimed chefs in attendance included Alain Ducasse, who has two three-star restaurants, Guy Savoy, Marc Veyrat, Pierre Troisgros and Paul Bocuse.

Some of Mr Loiseau's fellow chefs caused a furore after his death was discovered when they blamed the pressure of food critics for his suicide.

His death came a week after the renowned GaultMillau restaurant guide cut his restaurant rating from 19/20 to 17/20.

However, his widow, Dominique, said he had been complaining of depression in recent weeks.

'Act of madness'

She said her husband had been "totally weary, totally exhausted. Every day he was at work. We had not had a holiday in three years.

Paul Bocuse
Bocuse: Accused the critics of "killing" his friend
"For 27 years he had been doing just this - open every day - and it became too much... it was an act of madness," she said.

Mr Veryat also avoided blaming critics for his death.

"We accepted the guides as part of the system. It would be out of place to criticise them now," he told news agency AFP.

Their comments were in sharp contrast to those of Mr Bocuse earlier in the week, when he said: "I think GaultMillau killed him.

"When you are leader of the pack and all of a sudden they cut you down, it's hard to understand, it hit him hard."

Innovative cuisine

Mrs Loiseau attended the service with their three children, Blanche, Bastien, and Berangere.

Bernard Loiseau
A pioneer both in and out of the kitchen
Hundreds of townspeople gathered to listen to the eulogy on loudspeakers outside the church.

Mr Loiseau was famous for his "nouvelle cuisine", which sought to maximise simple flavours and reduce use of heavy sauces.

He was the only French chef whose culinary empire was traded on the stock exchange.

He also had a line of frozen foods, a boutique, and three restaurants in Paris.

He had published many books and appeared on television.

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