On Saturday, January 20, Paul Bocuse, the “pope” of chefs and founding father of nouvelle cuisine passed away in his sleep at the age of 91. We at D’Artagnan join the rest of the culinary world to honor his life and mourn his passing.
As the undisputed master of modern French cuisine, Bocuse is revered globally in culinary circles. His many contributions are now being weighed and sifted, but his influence and impact are immeasurable.
Born into a long line of chefs going back to the 1700s Bocuse knew very young that the kitchen was his destiny. His personality and showmanship made him arguably the first celebrity chef; his skill brought him 3 Michelin stars, one in 1958, a second in 1960 and a third in 1965. The Bocuse empire began when he took over his family restaurant outside Lyon in 1956, and expanded worldwide, with locations in Japan, New York, Switzerland and even Epcot Center.
Chef André Soltner described Bocuse’s greatest contribution. “He took chefs out of the servant category. He made it an honorable, glamorous and respected profession. And so, attracted a new generation of bright, dedicated, educated young men… and women.”
Ariane fondly remembers Paul Bocuse:
“Monsieur Paul, as we all called him, is the one person who elevated the status of chef to what it is today. I grew up in my family’s restaurant in Auch, revering his name, and what he brought to our industry in particular with his utmost respect to ingredients.
The first time I met him was in the U.S. after I emigrated and started D’Artagnan. We bonded over time, thanks to his sense of humor. The very first time was at the Carmel Food and Wine Festival where he requested that my daughter Alix, then 4 years old, help him during his demo of eggs ‘in meurette’ by breaking the eggs. ‘See? This is a recipe for children,’ he declared about this red wine loaded classic dish.
Once, after cooking a dinner at Citrus Beverly Hills with Michel Richard, we exchanged the most outrageous jokes about cannibals. Another time, after cooking yet another charity dinner in Miami, he joined us, a bunch of chefs, in the giant hotel jacuzzi exclaiming, ‘Watch out, this pot au feu is going to go overboard!’
I really understood his passion for the true meaning of the word hospitality during his stay in New York City in the days following September 11, when I had the immense honor to cook for him several times.
Rest In Peace Monsieur Paul, and as you are up there, breaking bread with Julia Child, please look out for us who are trying to carry the torch, and the future of gastronomy.”