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Gordon Ramsey's mentor chef Joël Robuchon dies

France 24, Aug 6

Joël Robuchon, the chef with the most Michelin stars in the world, has died from cancer in Geneva, Switzerland, aged 73.

After stints as head chef at the Hôtel Concorde La Fayette in Paris and the Célébrités restaurant in the capital’s Hôtel Nikko (already earning himself two Michelin stars for the latter), Frenchman Robuchon opened his first restaurant, Le Jamin, in December 1981. Le Jamin was awarded its first Michelin star the year after, and it took only three years for the establishment to ratchet up the coveted three stars.

He was awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (France’s Best Craftsman) title in 1976, and Chef of the Century by Gault Millau guide in 1989.

He retired from cooking at the age of 50, and instead focused on bringing cuisine to the masses via a daily television show, "Bon Appétit Bien Sûr".

He returned to gastronomy with the opening of his restaurant and signature concept L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in 2003 both in Paris and Tokyo at the same time. He told French magazine L’Obs that the idea was inspired by the ‘conviviality’ of Spanish tapas bars. "I was looking for a formula where something can happen between the customers and the chefs," he said.

He went on to open other Atelier restaurants in Las Vegas, New York, London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Montreal, Shanghai and Bangkok.

He mentored Gordon Ramsey, and Ramsey famously said that “compared to Robuchon, Marco Pierre White was a soft pussycat”.

French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux described Robuchon on Twitter as a "visionary leader" who would "continue to inspire a young generation of chefs".

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