Biarritz, France – December 30, 2023
A renowned French chef, “Aurélien Largeau,” has abruptly resigned from his position at the “Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz,” a luxury establishment, following reports of a disturbing hazing incident involving a kitchen staff member. The incident, which allegedly took place earlier this month, has prompted a public prosecutor to launch an investigation into charges of sexual assault and violence.
Largeau, “a 31-year-old Michelin-starred chef who had been heading the restaurant at Hôtel du Palais since 2020,” vehemently denies any wrongdoing, labeling the reports as “false and defamatory.” The unsettling episode was first brought to light by the local newspaper Sud-Ouest, which detailed a hazing ritual where a new commis chef was reportedly tied naked to a chair, subjected to humiliation, and filmed during the process.
According to Sud-Ouest, the initiation ceremony, known as “bizutage” and prohibited in France, involved the commis chef being bound to a chair with an apple in his mouth and a carrot in another part of his body. The entire kitchen brigade, including Largeau, allegedly witnessed the incident. While footage of the ritual was purportedly shared on social media, it has since been removed, with the police actively searching for any remaining traces.
In response to the allegations, Largeau issued a statement through France Bleu radio, vehemently refuting the claims. “I would like to formally deny the allegations made against me by several media outlets, and state that the facts reported in no way reflect reality,” he declared, adding, “I obviously condemn any form of mistreatment, hazing, or humiliation.”
The Hôtel du Palais, part of the Hyatt group, confirmed Largeau’s departure and acknowledged the concerning incident. A spokesperson for Hyatt emphasized that the incident contradicts their values, and an investigation was conducted, leading to appropriate decisions being made. The safety, health, and well-being of colleagues, customers, and partners were underscored as top priorities.
Despite no formal complaint from the alleged victim, public prosecutor “JérômeBourrier” has initiated a preliminary investigation into the matter. The incident has sparked discussions about the potential consequences of hazing rituals in professional kitchens and the importance of maintaining a respectful and safe working environment.
As the culinary community processes these developments, “AurélienLargeau’s departure” from his Michelin-starred position highlights the challenges and responsibilities associated with maintaining professional standards in the high-stakes world of luxury dining.