Renowned French chef Roger Vergé has died at the age of 85.
Vergé is credited with having trained up an entire generation of top French chefs, including Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud and Jacques Maximin, as well as many others.
He died on Saturday 6 June in the French village of Mougins in the Alpes-Maritimes, where he won three Michelin stars.
Speaking to The Caterer, Nico Ladenis called Vergé "a giant of French gastronomy". "He touched my life in a most definitive manner. I was fortunate enough to spend time in his kitchens. A number of my chefs followed," said Ladenis.
"Roger Vergé was an innovator. He was primarily responsible for injecting Mediterranean-style food into French cuisine. In a prescient gesture, the municipality of Mougins commissioned, some years ago, a modern statue in honour of this great man. It stands at the very entrance of the old town."
Speaking to French newspaper Le Figaro, Maximin said of the man who trained him: "He was a man with extraordinary charisma, in a way the playboy of the chef world.
"His generosity was was well-known and in cooking, you need to show a lot of generosity."
Maximin also highlighted Vergé's work in bringing Mediterranean cuisine to the fore. "He gave it a great boost, and dared to shake up traditions to create a cuisine of liberty."
Vergé, who was born on 7 April 1930, opened his famous Moulin de Mougins restaurant in 1969 with his wife Denise, where he won his third star in 1974. In 1977, he opened another restaurant in the village called the Amandier de Mougins. He retired from cooking in 2003.
Image: Roger Verge pictured in 1984 by Gill Marais/Rex.