French hotel loses renowned chef following accusations of engaging in inappropriate initiation rituals with kitchen staff

Aurélien Largeau, a chef with a Michelin star, has departed from his position at a luxurious French hotel following allegations of a hazing ritual that involved the humiliation of a kitchen staff member who was tied up and left naked.

The incident, which took place earlier this month, is being investigated by the public prosecutor for sexual assault and violence.

Largeau, who operated the restaurant at Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz, southwest France, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has labeled the reports as “false and defamatory”.

The story first emerged in the local newspaper Sud-Ouest, which reported that a recently hired apprentice chef was tied to a chair naked, with an apple in his mouth and a carrot inserted in his anus, while all the chefs, including Largeau, looked on.

Although footage of the banned hazing ritual, known as bizutage, was allegedly shared on social media, it has since been removed. The police are currently attempting to locate it.

Largeau, recognized as a culinary prodigy in the industry, had been leading the kitchen at the five-star hotel since 2020 and obtained a Michelin star two years later.

In response to France Bleu radio, Largeau wrote, “I categorically deny the accusations made against me by several media outlets, and I assert that the reported facts are completely false.”

He declared that the reports constituted “an assault on my reputation, disseminating false and defamatory information about an alleged ‘humiliating hazing of a kitchen assistant'”, and emphasized his condemnation of any form of mistreatment, hazing, or humiliation.

“I would never be associated with such behavior,” he affirmed.

Hyatt, the owner of the Hotel du Palais, confirmed the departure of Largeau from the establishment.

A spokesperson for Hyatt acknowledged a “disturbing incident on the hotel premises”.

“This incident does not align with the values we uphold. An investigation has been conducted, and appropriate measures have been taken. The safety, health, and well-being of our employees, customers, and partners are of utmost importance to us,” the statement read.

In an additional statement, a Hyatt spokesperson stated, “The management team at Hôtel du Palais has concluded an investigation that was initiated immediately following troubling allegations and imagery related to an incident that occurred on the hotel premises… The management team at Hôtel du Palais confirms that our collaboration with chef Aurélien Largeau ended on 21 December.”

While no formal complaint has been filed by the alleged victim, prosecutor Jérôme Bourrier stated that a preliminary investigation is underway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *