French Chef Joel Robuchon dies at 73

Renowned French chef Joel Robuchon died Monday at the age of 73 in Switzerland, the French government said.

French chef Joel Robuchon died at the age of 73 in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, the French government announced. Photo by Christian Brun/EPA
French chef Joel Robuchon died at the age of 73 in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, the French government announced. Photo by Christian Brun/EPA

Robuchon’s friend, David Khayat, told French newspaper Le Figaro he was with the chef in Geneva as he died. His death was a result of complications from pancreatic cancer, The New York Times reported.
Over his career Robuchon earned a record number of Michelin stars for his flavorful take on classic French cuisine, which he served in restaurants in places such as New York, Montreal and Las Vegas.

Robuchon was born in Poitiers, France, on April 7, 1945, and entered the seminary at the age of 12 where he discovered his love of cooking.

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Three years later Robuchon’s parents divorced and he began working at a local inn before apprenticing at several restaurants throughout France.

In 1974, Robuchon became the head of a 90-man kitchen brigade at the Hôtel Concorde La Fayette and two years later earned the title best craftsman in France.

“He won more competitions than anyone, and he introduced that aesthetic, that precision, that beauty on the plate, into his cooking,” chef Eric Ripert, who worked under Robuchon, said. “That was his signature, and it has never been duplicated with as much success.”

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In 1981, he opened his first restaurant, Jamin, which earned a Michelin star in its first year of operation, quickly followed by a second and third.

He abruptly retired at the height of his popularity in the early 1990s, but later returned to open a series of L’Atelier restaurant operations throughout the world from 2003 to 2017.

Robouchon published several cook books throughout his career and also starred on French cooking programs Cook Like a Great Chef and Bon Appétit, You Bet!.

He is survived by his wife, Janine Pallix, whom he married in 1966, and their their two children, Sophie Kartheiser and Louis Robouchon.

ByDaniel Uria