The French Chef Joël Robuchon, who rebelled against the stuffy world of fine dining, elevated mashed potato into an art form, and built up a culinary empire across the world, has died aged 73.
Named the “chef of the century” by Gault et Millau in 1990, Robuchon was both a highly disciplined perfectionist and a kitchen rebel who became famous for cooking mashed potato so exquisitely that critics described eating it as an overwhelmingly “emotional” experience.
Robuchon went from working-class roots to young stardom in the 1970s Paris world of fine dining, where eye-watering prices, starched tablecloths and silver cutlery were the norm. But he was credited with changing the rules of French cooking and restoring heartiness to the stark dishes of nouvelle cuisine.
He believed it was not the tiny sculpted portions on platters that should matter to diners, but hearty and simple dishes – truffle tart, creamed cauliflower, langoustine ravioli – cooked without mixing too many flavours at once, and sourcing the best produce.
He did not shy away from luxury products such as caviar, but his food was described as simple because he preached the use of only three or four ingredients in most dishes, and his goal was always to show off their flavours.
During his first 30 years in leading restaurants, he built up a stellar reputation, a long list of Michelin stars and prizes in the upper echelons of fine French cooking.
Robuchon was credited with transforming restaurant tradition with his notion of ateliers (workshops) – intimate restaurants where diners sat at a counter surrounding the kitchen.
There was no dress code and no reservations, even if the queues were vast. Guy Job, who worked with Robuchon, called this “three-star food with stainless steel cutlery and glass glasses, not crystal ones”.
Over the next 20 years, Robuchon built up a multimillion-euro global empire of 39 establishments, from fine restaurants to clubs. In 2016, he held a world record 32 Michelin stars. This year, he still had 31 stars, including five three-star restaurants. He owned restaurants in cities including Paris, Monaco, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Tokyo and Bangkok.
He was extremely competitive, a perfectionist who asked a lot of his staff. The British chef Gordon Ramsay described working for him as like working for the special forces, accusing Robuchon of once throwing a plate of langoustine ravioli at him for not cooking it properly.
Robuchon later admitted to an interviewer that the incident took place, but insisted it was the only time he had thrown a plate of food.
Our own Guillaume Brahimi has brought to Australia the famous mashed potato he learned with Joël Robuchon
The French president Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Robuchon’s global standing as an innovative chef adored worldwide. “Joel Robuchon’s style was above all about a fundamental, almost obsessional, focus on the quality of produce,” said a statement from the president’s office, lauding the perfectionism that turned the simplicity of his dishes into “accomplished harmony”.
This tribute has been collated from various public sources,
Burrawong Gaian Humane Choice Accredited Poultry Farm
Beth and Hayden runs an award winning low density poultry farm on the mid North Coast of New South Wales, just South of Bellingen. Here is their story!
And we inaugurate a new page on our site :Cooking demos and videos!
Jill Dupleix returns to the stage at CarriageWorks Farmers Market to introduce new cooking demos with famous Chefs, a welcome initiative since the demise of the SMH Growers Market in Pyrmonr.
This will happen every first Saturday of the month, then a producer will be invited to showcase their produce/product every 3rd Saturday of the month.
I will be uploading Pepe Saya presentation a little later... Stay tuned!
Paul Bocuse died yesterday a few days short of his 92th birthday...The inventor of ‘nouvelle cuisine’ and the most active promoter of French gastronomy around the World has lived a full life, full of joy, generosity and love.
I will attempt to translate the tribute written by acclaimed Chef Jean Imbert in his Instagram page. He had trained with Bocuse as many others around the World, including our own Philippe Mouchel in Melbourne, who opened the first Bocuse restaurant abroad in Japan.
So here we go:
My thoughts are with your family and your kitchen brigades.
When I was young, I didn’t want to become a cook, I was playing at being Paul Bocuse.
I was ordering copper pans for Christmas to emulate you. At 15, when I discovered your cooking school in Lyon, I immediately knew I needed to join to learn how to cook, and nowhere else.... Your school was not short of amazing: sometimes you would pop in, we could talk to you and exchange ideas, you would dedicate toques to some of us - mine is well hidden...
people will talk about your recipes forever, like the famous VGE soup, the ‘nouvelle cuisine’ etc, but for me you were first and foremost, an ‘aubergiste’ in the most noble sense of the word. With my family, we would come for Christmas lunch in Collonges, and my best memories come back, you sitting at our table to share some bubbles and then you would give us a tour of your kitchen, and it was magical!
And it was not only for us, or your regulars, you would do this randomly for anybody, you were receiving people ‘chez vous’, in your house really, to show them your passion, thevregional,produce you were using, introducing us to your sous-chefs, etc...
It is that attitude of sharing and humility that you were showing your grandeur as a man.
To go along with the wishes of your family, friends and team, I will advocate personally with our President - Emanuel Macron - for a national tribute, as I far as I know there is no other Chef had such a privilege in the history of our country. Maybe it is my Chef’s heart which speaks, but I believe nobody else has promoted our values - and our gastronomy - like you have done for over 50 years! thank you Monsieur Paul"
Inspired by a dish I was served last Friday in Shellharbour, I decided to film for you my own implementation of this fusion recipe. It was delicious! Now you can try your hand at it. It is simple, quick and will impress your guests!
If you are into Basque food, charcuterie and piment d'espelette, this is the place to visit for a quick lunch or a light dinner, and if the weather is clement
A great modern brasserie in the 17th, on the same Place as Dessirier and Petrus, but clearly more affordable... Perfect for a lazy Sunday lunch in Paris
I found this little gem on my first night in Paris in September 2017.
Valentin Vasseur, the young Chef in charge trained in Australia under the vigilant eye of Stephen Hodges of Fishface fame.
I highly recommend you try it over your next visit to Paris!
We have been working on this relentlessly for the last couple of months and we are thrilled to announce that we are now LIVE on the Airbnb Experiences website and App. We currently have four dinners scheduled: 2nd and 16th of December and next year on the 3rd and 17th of February. We will add more dates later. We will surprise you with a staple of the French cuisine repertoire, with a twist, and we will be matching the wines - mostly French - in a cheeky sort of way. We can accomodate up to 6 guests, but we accept individual bookings obviously, which makes it for a much more interesting mix of people and conversations. To give you an example, on our rehearsal dinner, we had two Belgian, one being vegetarian, an Aussie who knows his wine, his American wife who is gluten intolerant, and my Persian neighbour, a political refugee and a happy builder in Australia. It was a great evening! So, come and join me for a great time!
After the success of our first class on August 5th, The Essential Ingredient Cooking School in Rozelle has kindly offered us to run at least two new classes over the next six months. More will be scheduled in 2018.
For the time being, we have one scheduled for the evening of October 12th, 2017, and morning of February 24th, 2018.
Visit sydneyessential.com.au/cooking-school to book
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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