Friday 17 August 2018

Chef of the century Robuchon dies of cancer

Chef Joël Robuchon. Photo: REUTERS
Chef Joël Robuchon. Photo: REUTERS

Ingrid Melander in Paris

Chef Joël Robuchon, who earned more than 30 Michelin stars across nearly two dozen restaurants on three continents, has died at his home in Geneva, aged 73, his staff said.

Named the "chef of the century" by the 'Gault et Millau' restaurant guide in 1990, Robuchon was regarded as a perfectionist, toiling to make even ordinary dishes - such as mashed potatoes - the very best they could be.

He came into his own in the 1980s and early 1990s, when gourmet food went global. He steadily expanded his fame, branching out from being one of Paris's most recognised three-star chefs to become a worldwide phenomenon.

A spokeswoman for Robuchon confirmed his death, with French TV station BFM and newspaper 'Le Figaro' reporting that he died yesterday in Geneva from cancer.

In France, Robuchon is regarded as a chef who ushered in an era of authenticity after the restraint of nouvelle cuisine.

"The older I get, the more I realise the truth is: the simpler the food, the more exceptional it can be," he told 'Business Insider' in an interview in 2014. "I never try to marry more than three flavours in one dish. I like walking into a kitchen and knowing that the dishes are identifiable and the ingredients within them easy to detect."

Born in Poitiers, western France, in 1945, Robuchon rose quickly through apprenticeships, learning techniques from around the country, before taking over as head chef of what was then the Hotel Concorde La Fayette in Paris at the age of 29.

The son of a builder, his brand eventually became a business in itself and he opened restaurants from Las Vegas to Shanghai, Bangkok, Macau, Tokyo and New York.

"What he is leaving us is immense," three-starred chef Éric Fréchon said on Twitter. A French government spokesman called Robuchon a "visionary" who boosted French cuisine's reputation worldwide.

Robuchon, whose restaurants charged more than $400 (€346) per person for the tasting menu, said he was "a regular person" when it came to cooking for himself.

"I do (things) as simple as I can. Steak and French fries, nice and French. I really do love eggs as well. I make quite a lot of omelettes, salads," he told 'Business Insider'.

Irish Independent

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