Rediscover: The Complete Robuchon

French chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Joël Robuchon died on August 6 at age 73. He was a celebrity French cook who operated dozens of restaurants around the world--which earned him a total of 32 Michelin stars, the most of any chef. At age 21, Robuchon joined an apprenticeship program that allowed him to learn regional techniques throughout France. By age 29, he was head chef at the Hôtel Concorde La Fayette, which staffed 90 chefs cooking 3,000 meals each night. Robuchon cut his chops during the height of nouvelle cuisine, a style centered on innovation and reduction with an emphasis on plating. Robuchon synthesized some of those elements with more classic French cuisine. His simultaneous strive for perfection and simplicity earned him the title "Chef of the Century" by the restaurant guide Gault Millau, as well as frequent appearances on French cooking shows. An early retirement (caused by witnessing the premature heart attacks of overworked colleagues) was cut short when Robuchon opened his worldwide line of restaurants, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon.

Patricia Wells, chef, journalist and co-author of  Robuchon's cookbook Simply French (1991), said his favorite line was "our job is not to make a mushroom taste like a carrot but to make a mushroom taste as much like a mushroom as it can." Home cooks seeking to sample Robuchon's famous simplicity of ingredients and perfection of execution can find more than 800 of his recipes in The Complete Robuchon (2008), translated by Robin H.R. Bellinger and available from Knopf ($40, 9780307267191). --Tobias Mutter

Powered by: Xtenit