The apparent suicide of three-star Michelin chef Benoît Violier this week called attention to one of the facts of kitchen life, especially at the highest level: the intense and often unending pressure that defines the profession. Here to weigh in are chefs Michael Laiskonis, Paul Liebrandt, and Matthias Merges. We examine some key issues that go hand in hand with ambition: What draws a young cook to the most demanding settings? What are the costs of originality, brilliance, and acclaim? Will anything less get the job done? An unflinching look into what drives our finest chefs and whether or not anything will, or should, change.

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"Only when a cook feels great about himself and what you do can you have an exceptional product." [19:45]

--Matthias Merges on The Front Burner

"The fun thing [regarding Michelin] from being in my position as a chef is that every year you have the chance to go up or down... you get reviewed by the Times and you might not get reviewed for another 4 or 5 years." [33:45]

--Paul Liebrandt on The Front Burner