PARIS >> Hundreds of people, among them scores of chefs and students of the culinary arts from around the world, gathered today to pay their respects to one of the masters of French cuisine, the late French chef Joel Robuchon.
The chefs, many wearing white uniforms but some clad in black, paid homage to Robuchon at a ceremony in Poitiers, the western French town where he was born just before the end of World War II. He died of cancer on Aug. 6 at 73.
A large photo portrait of Robuchon, who in 2016 held a record 32 Michelin stars for his restaurants, was suspended outside Poitiers’ Saint Pierre’s Cathedral where a religious ceremony was held. Friends, family and dozens of chefs said a final farewell later at the town hall.
Prominent Michelin-starred French chef Alain Ducasse and a delegation from Japan were among those who attended.
Celebrity chef Thierry Marx told BFM-TV that Robuchon “was an example of what can be achieved through hard work. He showed that you can grow a lot in society through the fruits of your labor.”
Robuchon, who was buried at a private funeral last week, was named among the best craftsmen in France in 1976, crowned cook of the century in 1990 and chosen to be one of the cooks at the “dinner of the century.”
He was a master chef who shook up the stuffy world of French haute cuisine by showing diners the delights of the simple mashed potato and a peek at a restaurant kitchen.
Robuchon was known for constant innovation and playfulness in the kitchen, qualities that made him a revelation to the hidebound world of French cuisine. He built a gourmet empire that included restaurants in Paris, Tokyo, Las Vegas and New York City.