PARIS—Joel Robuchon, a world-famous chef who at one point earned more than 30 Michelin stars across nearly two dozen restaurants on three continents, died on Monday at his home in Geneva aged 73, his staff said.
Named the “chef of the century” by the Gault et Millau cooking guide in 1990, Robuchon was regarded as a perfectionist, toiling to make even ordinary seeming 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 renown, from being one of Paris’s most recognized three-star chefs to become a worldwide phenomenon.
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 realize 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 flavors in one dish. I like walking into a kitchen and knowing that the dishes are identifiable and the ingredients within them easy to detect.”
Joel Robuchon 1947-2018
A very sad day for any of us in our industry and for the millions of other who were touched by this amazing man. When I was 23 I almost crapped myself being part of a team cooking him a birthday dinner in NYC. Over the years he was beyond kind to me. #sad
— Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern) August 6, 2018
Tragic summer for foodies continues. First Bourdain, then Jonathan Gold, now French "genius of gastronomy" Joel Robuchon dies https://t.co/IMZTVVuFqD
— Dan Stewart (@thatdanstewart) August 6, 2018
I ate at Restaurant Joël Robuchon in LV in 2011 & interviewed the pastry chef afterwards. He opened the oven & I noticed a dozen chocolate soufflés at the back. I asked if he still had a group. “No,” he said, “for every soufflé order we make three & choose the best.” Says it all.
— Lesley Chesterman (@lesleychestrman) August 6, 2018
Born in Poitiers, western France, in 1945, Robuchon rose quickly through apprenticeships, learning techniques from across the country, before taking over as head chef of what was then the Hotel Concorde La Fayette in Paris at the age of 29.
As with many other star chefs, his brand eventually became a business in itself and he opened restaurants from Las Vegas to Shanghai, Bangkok, Macau, Tokyo, and New York.
In June this year, his company closed its two restaurants in Singapore, with five Michelin stars between them.