To the outside world, Bernard Loiseau's life could not have been better. He was a renowned chef with an ebullient (though bipolar) personality who was adored by diners and staff alike, and his Burgundy restaurant La Cote d'Or was awarded three Michelin stars the highest honor. So it sent shock waves worldwide when Loiseau, 52, put a gun to his head and took his own life on Feb. 24, 2003. (His GaultMillau rating had just dropped two points.) Rudolph Chelminski, a friend of Loiseau's, sympathetically recounts the meteoric rise and untimely fall of one of France's premier chefs. While it lacks the quick-paced dish of Kitchen Confidential, Perfectionist effectively reveals the pressure-cooker atmosphere among a culinary elite dominated by intense rivalries, fickle reviewers, and hypercritical chefs for whom there's no such thing as second best.