Happy birthday Paul Bocuse!
Paul Bocuse (February 11, 1926) is a prominent French chef who is known for maintaining a very high standard of quality in his cooking and across his several restaurants. Bocuse is associated with nouvelle cuisine, an approach to food that values high quality, fresh ingredients over heavy, opulent dishes. Bocuse is regarded as an ambassador of modern French cuisine, and since 1987, the Bocuse d'Or has been regarded as the most prestigious award for chefs in the world, in terms of French cuisine.
Paul Bocuse was born into a long line of chefs and spent much of his childhood watching his parents prepare the kind of comfortable French food that he still serves in his restaurants today. When he was eighteen, Bocuse was drafted to fight in World War II. After being wounded in Alsace, a blood transfusion from a U.S. Army hospital saved his life, and he has since flown an American flag outside his restaurant. After the war, Bocuse worked in the kitchen of a large private house, and then at La Pyramide in western France.
In 1958, he took over L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges from his father. In 1965, the restaurant gained three Michelin stars, which Bocuse has since retained. Bocuse also operates a chain of brasseries, Le Nord, l'Est, Le Sud and l'Ouest, each of which specialize n a different aspect of French cuisine. Bocuse remains highly regarded for his incredibly disciplined style of running his kitchens, as well as his committment to fostering the talent of young chefs, including the likes of Daniel Boulud and Jean-George Vongerichten. As part of the chef's daily routine, a member of the kitchen staff serves him one meal a day, so that he can "inspect their fingernails and watch the way in which they work".
interior, L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges
In 1975, Bocuse created the world famous soupe aux truffes (truffle soup) for a presidential dinner at the Elysée Palace, for then president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. The soup continues to be served in the chef's restaurant near Lyon, as Soupe V.G.E.
In 2011, during their Leadership Awards Gala, The The Culinary Institute of America honored Bocuse with the "Chef of the Century" Award. The Institut Paul Bocuse Worldwide Alliance brings together students from select universities in various countries, to undergo a four-month intensive training program. Students are trained in the following areas: French Regional Cuisine, the arts de la table wine selection, cheeses, French cooking terminology, and pastry techniques.
Modern Chefs on Paul Bocuse, via New York Magazine:
Daniel Boulud: I grew up with Paul Bocuse. I started cooking at the age of 14, and the first week I was working I met Paul Bocuse. That was a while ago, in Lyon. The restaurant I was working for was next to Les Halles and every morning my responsibility as the young apprentice was to go and pick up the freshest vegetables, fish, meat from Les Halles and carry it to the restaurant. And Paul Bocuse was there every morning, also, buying his own food and sitting down with my boss and having coffee. And every morning they would gather around to have coffee after they chose their selection of food, so at 14 you look at all these big chefs and Paul being at the center of all of the; it's incredible.
Jacques Pépin: I've known Paul for 50 years, maybe, or more. I am from Lyon, too. Certainly he did more than any other chef in the world that I can think of to bring the chefs in the dining room and to make the profession respectable and to make us who we are now. Now the chefs are stars and it's because of Paul Bocuse ... we are indebted to him for them.
Thomas Keller: How can you describe Paul Bocuse except as a legend or an icon? He's somebody who's really exemplified the modern chef and I think that pretty much encapsulates what my feelings on Paul Bocuse are without going into a whole hour and a half narrative telling you how much I appreciate that man.
- Birthday Date: Tuesday, 11 February 2014