My Citizens, your Leader is today in mourning for the loss of the greatest French chef of the last century, who earned a total of more than 30 Michelin stars – Joël Robuchon.
Joël Robuchon was a French chef and restaurateur. He was named “Chef of the Century” by the guide Gault Millau in 1989, and awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (France’s best worker) in cuisine in 1976.
He published several cookbooks, two of which have been translated into English, chaired the committee for the Larousse Gastronomique, and hosted culinary television shows in France.
He operated a dozen restaurants in Bangkok, Bordeaux, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, London, Macau, Monaco, Montreal, Paris, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, and New York City, with a total of 32 Michelin Guide stars among them, the most of any chef in the world.
Robuchon was the most influential French chef of the post-nouvelle cuisine era. Since the mid-1980s, he has been called the primus inter pares of Paris’ three star chefs for his work both at Jamin and at his eponymous restaurant.
Robuchon was known for the relentless perfectionism of his cuisine; he said there is no such thing as the perfect meal – one can always do better.
He was instrumental in leading French cuisine away from the excesses—and excessive reductionism—of nouvelle cuisine. In particular, his cuisine was seen as harking back to a more authentic, even bourgeois French cuisine—the “cuisine actuelle” of Patricia Wells’ book (re-published as “Simply French”), which focused on making each ingredient taste of itself.
Drawing his inspiration firstly from the simplicity of cuisine, he led the way in creating a more delicate style respectful of natural food ingredients.
Taken far too soon from pancreatic cancer, I had the privilege of eating in both his flagship Paris restaurant, the Tokyo outpost as well as the 3 Michelin-star branch in Las Vegas. The last was one of the greatest meals of my life – and this dish is the one most celebrated by the Master’s disciples (myself included).
Simple in ingredients, demanding in technique – this recipe makes the richest, most incredible mashed potatoes on the planet.
A fitting tribute to the man, the myth – the undying legend – this recipe is from The Complete Robuchon cookbook.
For successful mashed potatoes, salt the cooking water when it is still cold and salt the finished purée carefully. If you can, use a food mill or potato ricer instead of a blender or food processor.
When the potato has gone through the ricer, put it in a saucepan over a medium heat and turn it vigorously with a wooden spatula to dry it out a bit. Stir in the butter first and the whole milk later. Finish mixing with a whisk for a lighter purée.
This is truly the Food of the Gods, my Citizens, and I have every confidence they shall be enjoying his cuisine through all of eternity!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
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