Revered French chef Joël Robuchon, the man whose restaurants have been awarded the most Michelin stars in the world, has died aged 73 after a long battle with cancer.
As reported by Le Figaro, Robuchon, whose restaurants held 32 Michelin stars in 13 different countries, died in Geneva this morning.
Named the ‘Chef of the Century’ by Gault Millau in 1989, Robuchon championed his signature style of ‘cuisine moderne’, which followed nouvelle cuisine and re-introduced the depth and complexity of flavours rejected by the movement.
As is common all over the world now, Robuchon was one of the first to focus on the heightened expression of local, seasonal ingredients on the plate, favouring dishes with only a few elements that allowed the key ingredients to shine.
He is perhaps most famous for his impossibly creamy mashed potato that uses a 1:2 butter to potato ratio, which chefs the world over have tried to replicate.
Born in Poitiers in 1945, at the age of 15 he became an apprentice chef at the Relais of Poitiers hotel, starting off as a pastry chef.
Having travelled throughout France in his 20s learning diverse regional cooking techniques, in 1974 he was made had chef at the Hôtel Concorde La Fayette in Paris.
In 1981 Robuchon opened his first restaurant, Jamin, in Paris, which won three Michelin stars within three years and was considered one of the greatest in the world. Robuchon went on to mentor the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Michael Caines.
He believed that there was no such thing as a perfect meal, and that chefs had to continually strive to perfect their art.
Before his death the chef presided over 25 restaurants around the world, including L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon sites in Paris, London, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, New York, Las Vegas and Montreal.
His L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong and Robuchon au Dome in Macau hold three stars, while the flagship L’Atelier in Paris has two.
With the death of Robuchon the culinary world has lost three heavyweights this year alone. In January Paul Bocuse, the founding father of nouvelle cuisine known as the ‘pope’ of French cooking, died in Lyon.
Just two months ago the food world was rocked with the news that celebrated chef and TV presenter Anthony Bourdain took his own life while filming for his CNN travel series Parts Unknown in Strasbourg.