Legendary, most Michelin-starred chef Joël Robuchon, dies aged 73
File image of legendary French chef Joël Robuchon, taken in Le Brassus, Switzerland, Dec. 17, 2013. EPA-EFE FILE/CHRISTIAN BRUNA
File image of legendary French chef Joël Robuchon taken in Hong Kong, China, Aug. 29, 2008. EPA-EFE FILE/PAUL HILTON
Paris, Aug 6 (efe-epa).- The acclaimed French chef and restaurateur Joël Robuchon, famous for being the person with the most Michelin guide stars in the world, died on Monday aged 73 after a long battle against pancreatic cancer, according to his press office and the French government.
Robuchon, who was born in 1945 in Poitiers, was named "Chef of the Century" by the renowned Gault et Millau gastronomy guide in 1990 and his restaurants were awarded a record 32 Michelin stars in recognition of his most iconic dishes, such as his widely-applauded mashed potatoes or crispy truffle tart and his impeccably high standards.
"Joël Robuchon, a visionary chef and the most starred in the world, has left us today," said Benjamin Griveaux, the official spokesperson for the French government, on Twitter. "From Paris to Shanghai, his know-how elevated into art has shone a light on French gastronomy and will continue to inspire the next young generations of chefs. Our thoughts are with his friends, relatives and numerous students."
The larger-than-life master of haute cuisine had undergone surgery for the malignant tumor in his pancreas last year.
"We've lost the Godfather of Michelin, the most decorated chef in the world," wrote one of his most successful students, British chef and reality TV personality Gordon Ramsay, on his Instagram account. "He kept all of us on our toes, even when we were sleeping! Merci Chef, God bless."
Robuchon owned numerous restaurants – several of them with three Michelin stars – across three continents in cities such as Monaco, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Bangkok, Singapore, London, Tokyo, Taipei, Montreal, Shanghai, New York City or Paris.
He established a towering reputation at Jamin, his first independent restaurant which he opened in Paris in 1981.
Jamin quickly proceeded to win three Michelin stars and set such a high standard that it was often referred to as the greatest restaurant in the world, until Robuchon retired in 1995 citing a fear of burnout. He later re-launched his career.
After completing apprenticeships at hotels and joining the prestigious Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France mentoring network, he first rose to prominence in 1976 when he won the Meilleur Ouvrier de France ("France's Best Craftsman") award.
An obsessive perfectionist, Robuchon had been greatly influential in reshaping France's post-nouvelle cuisine era, by returning to an authentic simplicity that focused on the natural taste of premium-quality, natural ingredients without a fixation on minimalism.
He was also a formative influence on a new generation of chefs, including Ramsay, who has managed to obtain 16 Michelin stars.