'World's best chef' Benoit Violier found dead at his Swiss home

Mr Violier ran the Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville, which has three Michelin stars

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Benoit Violier of the restaurant Hotel de Ville in Crissier, Switzerland. Image: Michel Euler / AP/Press Association Images

One of the world's most respected chefs, Benoit Violier, has been found dead at his Swiss home in an apparent suicide, police have said.

The 44-year-old ran the three-star Michelin eatery Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville in Crissier, near Lausanne.

In a statement, Swiss police said: "Late in the afternoon, police... went to Crissier (Mr Violier's home) where they discovered at his home the body of Mr Benoit Violier."

The statement added that it appeared Mr Violier had shot himself with a firearm.

Mr Violier's restaurant was last year crowned the "world's best restaurant" by France's La Liste ranking, which named 1,000 top establishments in 48 countries.

Swiss police said an investigation had been opened into Mr Violier's death.

They added that "out of respect for the family" the Swiss authorities would be making no further comment.

Swiss news website 24 Heures reported that Mr Violier had been due to attend the launch of the new Michelin guide in Paris on Monday.

France's most famous chef Paul Bocuse was among those to pay tribute, tweeting: "Great chef, great man, giant talent. All our thoughts are with the family and friends of Benoit Violier."

Michelin-starred Pierre Gagnaire, head chef at London's Sketch restaurant, wrote on the social networking site: "My thoughts go out to Benoit Violier's family. Very sad news about an extremely talented chef."

Mr Violier took over the restaurant in Crissier with his wife Brigitte in 2012 after the retirement of his mentor Phillipe Rochat, a towering figure in French cuisine, who died after falling ill while cycling last year.

He was known as a keen hunter and for using game and local, seasonal products in his signature dishes.