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File image of the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, France Alamy Stock Photo
Hotel du Palais

Michelin-starred French chef quits restaurant in luxury hotel after 'troubling' hazing

A kitchen hand was reportedly tied up naked and humiliated in a hazing in the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, France.

A STAR FRENCH chef abruptly quit his luxury hotel job after a hazing in which a kitchen hand was reportedly tied up naked and humiliated, the hotel chain said today.

Aurelien Largeau, 31, who has a coveted Michelin star to his name, ran the restaurant of the prestigious Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, southwestern France, until last week when he suddenly left.

A spokeswoman for hotel owners Hyatt told AFP that the management had been informed of a “troubling incident”, footage of which had been shared online.

She gave no details of what is on the images but regional daily Sud Ouest reported that they show an initiation ritual in the hotel kitchen.

A kitchen hand was tied to a chair naked for hours with an apple in his mouth and a carrot in his anus with all the chefs – known as the kitchen brigade – looking on, including star chef Largeau.

The footage has since been removed from the internet.

The “humiliating” incident took place “under the authority, and in the presence, of chef Aurelien Largeau”, Sud Ouest said.

“This incident does not reflect the values that we defend,” the Hyatt spokeswoman said.

“We have undertaken an investigation and taken the appropriate decisions,” she added.

“The safety, health and well-being of our colleagues, clients and partners are absolute priorities for us.”

The Hotel du Palais is a five-star hotel on the seafront in Biarritz, with an average price per night of over €400.

Officials at Biarritz city hall, which owns the hotel building, were unavailable for comment.

Hazing is banned under French law, but reports say the practice still occurs in French restaurants.

It is sometimes defended as a test of whether junior staff can handle the pressures of the job.

A number of cooking professionals have started campaigns against violence in kitchens in recent years, including one called “Hands off my Kitchen Hand” and another “Respect your Kitchen”.

© AFP 2023 

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