Benoit Violier, 44, was found dead with self-inflicted gunshot wounds, according to police.
The chef, who was known for running the prestigious Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville, near Lausanne, which was named the best in the world in December by La Liste, was found dead at his Switzerland apartment on Sunday afternoon.
In 2013 he was named chef of the year by the influential Gault et Millau guide, second only to the Michelin guide among gourmets. He was due to attend the unveiling of the new Michelin guide in Paris yesterday.
While a Michelin star can bring glory, the pressure to maintain the rating is intense. A maximum of three are awarded.
In an interview with Swiss TV RTS in December 2014, Violier said the stress of haute cuisine was necessary to maintain standards. “It’s my life. I go to sleep with cooking, I wake up to cooking,” he said.
Last year he was hit by the death of his father as well as his “mentor” Philippe Rochat, whom he regarded as a “second father”.
In a statement police said: “Late in the afternoon, police went to his home where they discovered at his home the body of Mr Benoit Violier.”
Police outlined that they believe he died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
The giants of French gastronomy have paid tribute to the chef.
Marc Veyrat, a three-star chef, said he was “destroyed” by news of Violier’s death. “The planet has been orphaned by this exceptional chef,” Veyrat wrote on Twitter.
Paul Bocuse, named “chef of the century” by Gault et Millau and the Culinary Institute of America, said: “A grand chef, a grand man, a gigantic talent.