Today, the culinary world mourns the loss of legendary French chef Paul Bocuse. He was 91 years old.
“It is with immense pain that we inform you of the death of Paul Bocuse. Our ‘captain’ died on January 20, at the dawn of his 92 years,” said the Bocuse family in a statement released across the official Paul Bocuse Instagram and Facebook pages.
“Much more than a father and a husband, he is a man of heart, a spiritual father, an emblematic figure of world gastronomy and a tri-colored flag-bearer who has gone.”
Born on February 11, 1926 in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, Bocuse—also known as "Monsieur Paul”—came from a lineage of cooks. He rose to fame in the late 1960s while riding the nouvelle cuisine wave, transforming traditional French classics into lighter dishes.
After years of cooking at top establishments in France, Bocuse returned to his family restaurant, L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, in 1956; the restaurant received three Michelin stars in 1965 and has retained them ever since. Bocuse also has a number of brasseries throughout France, Switzerland and Japan, and his son, Jérôme, manages the Chefs de France restaurant in Walt Disney World’s French pavilion.
In 1987, Bocuse started the Bocuse d’Or, a biennial championship event in Lyon that has been regarded as the culinary olympics.
Among his many accolades, Mr. Bocuse was awarded with the French Legion of Honor and was also named “chef of the century” by the Culinary Institute of America.
Bocuse is survived by his wife, Raymonde, his daughter, Françoise Bocuse-Bernachon, and his son, Jérôme.
And today, chefs around the world are pouring out condolences:
“We love you, Monsieur Paul,” says Dominique Crenn on Instagram. “Great sadness for the whole world.”
Anthony Bourdain posted a photo of the chef, who is pointing to his rooster tattoo on his shoulder. “Perhaps the most memorable meal of my life was with this man. Rest in peace, ‘Monsieur Paul.’ And thank you.”
“Thank you, Monsieur Paul, for being the greatest influence in my life since I started cooking at 14,” chef Daniel Boulud, who once apprenticed at L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, posted on Instagram. “Your love, generosity and legacy will continue to guide me as a chef forever.”
Richard Ekkebus of Amber in Hong Kong also expressed his gratitude to the legendary chef on Instagram. "The greatest chef of this decade has passed away last night, words cannot describe what he has done for the world of Gastronomie, the community of chefs... my thoughts are with his family, his teams and I wish them strength in this extremely difficult time "
Hero image courtesy of the Paul Bocuse Facebook page.