Legendary chef Paul Bocuse has died aged 91.
The death of the man referred to as the father of gastronomy was announced by the French interior minister today (20 January).
As well as leading the nouvelle cuisine movement, Bocuse founded the Bocuse d’Or competition, which since 1987 has seen some of the world’s greatest chefs compete in what has been affectionately know as the world cup of cooking.
In 2015 Bocuse was honoured with holding three-Michelin-stars for an unprecedented 50 years at his L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges restaurant in Lyon, France, by being named Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit.
The Culinary Institute of America in New York named him Chef of the Century in 2012, before announcing it planned to change the name of its Escoffier Restaurant to the Bocuse Restaurant.
Bocuse’s most famous dish was created in 1975, when he cooked soupe aux truffes (truffle soup) for a presidential dinner at the Elysée Palace. It still features on the menu at L’Auberge alongside sea bass stuffed in a puff pastry shell with choron sauce and Bresse chicken with truffles stuffed under its skin and cooked in a pork bladder, which inflates like a football before being carved at the table.
Brian Turner, president of the Academy of Culinary Arts, met Bocuse through his involvement in the Bocuse d’Or competition. He said that he was a true gentlemen who was an inspiration to both young and old.
He added: “He was a man who understood the real meaning of gastronomy and hospitality. The legacy he leaves will last forever. It was a privilege to have known him and shared a table with him.”
Chef Simon Hulstone who represented the UK at four Bocuse d’Or competitions said: “Paul Bocuse wasn’t just an icon to me, he was an icon to chefs over six decades.
“When I had the chance to cook in Lyon in 95 Paul, Bocuse visited my station and I had the briefest off chats, but it was an honour to cook for him 15 years later at The Bocuse d’Or. His presence was beyond any chef in this world past or present. There’s not a chef living that has had the influence and stature that Paul Bocuse had.”
Nick Vadis, culinary director for Compass Group UK, who held the post of team manager for Team UK at the Bocuse d’Or for many years, commented: “Paul was a man who epitomised what a great chef should be. He leaves a legacy that will live on in the Bocuse d’Or, and Team UK will always be indebted to him for his vision for a global competition that brings all the culinary world together. Team UK is proud to have been a part of this and will continue to be a part of his vision.”
Rene Redzepi tweeted “thank you for a lifetime of work and inspiration”, while Andrew Fairlie said on Instagram: “He will go down in the annals of history, his name will be mentioned along with those who shaped the world of gastronomy. Carême, Escoffier, Bocuse.”