Celebrated French chef Paul Bocuse dies aged 91

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Bocuse was arguably the most influential French chef of the 20th century, who managed several restaurants in France but also the US, Japan and Switzerland, and whose Auberge du Pont de Collonges establishment near Lyon was the only restaurant to have been continuously awarded Michelin’s top three stars for more than 50 years.

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Paul Bocuse, the Michelin-starred chef and celebrated master of haute cuisine, died in France on Saturday, reports The Guardian.

Bocuse, 91, was one of the leading exponents of the 1970s culinary trend of nouvelle cuisine. His restaurant has held three Michelin stars continuously for more than 50 years.
  Tributes to the man variously described as “Monsieur Paul”, the “chef of the century” and the “Pope of gastronomes” poured in after his death was announced.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, described Bocuse as “the incarnation of French cuisine”.
“His name alone sums up French gastronomy; his generosity, his respect for traditions but also his innovation,” Macron said.

“Today French gastronomy has lost a legendary figure who transformed it profoundly. Chefs are crying in their kitchens at the Elysée and everywhere in France. But they will carry on his work.”

Bocuse reportedly died in his sleep in the same room in which he was born in February 1926 at his family home at Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, north of Lyon. His family had worked as chefs since the 17th century, and Paul Bocuse maintained the tradition.

“I’m lost when I leave here,” he told Le Point magazine in 2013. “If I spend the night in another bed, to find my bearings I have to sleep with the Saône [river] to my left.”
During the war he served as a volunteer in Gen de Gaulle’s Free French Army and was injured in Alsace in eastern France, earning the Croix de Guerre decoration. After the war, he began his apprenticeship with Eugénie Brazier, known as “Mother Brazier”, one of the first chefs to win the coveted Michelin three stars.

Bocuse obtained his first star in 1958, and a second two years later, after transforming his family-run establishment, L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, which became a temple to French cuisine and has held three Michelin stars since 1965. At the time of his death, he had nine restaurants in and around the city of Lyon and several abroad, including in Japan, the US and Switzerland.

Read more of this report from The Guardian.