Façade of the restaurant Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France.
Today, on the 20th of January 2018 – the culinary world has lost a father, Chef Paul Bocuse. At the age of 91, Bocuse peacefully passed away in his home town after suffering with Parkinson’s disease for some years – in the same bed he was born.
Born in Lyon in 1926 – Bocuse abruptly stopped his education with the coming of World War Two, when he joined the forces of the resistance movement - the Gen de Gaulle’s Free French Army.
He was injured in Alsace in eastern France during combat, earning him the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) – awarded to individuals who distinguish themselves for acts of heroism during fighting with enemy forces.
A grandchild and a son of restaurateurs with the culinary background running through generations (as far back as the 17th Century), Paul Bocuse helped L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges gain its first Michelin star in 1958 – when he was the right hand of his father’s restaurant
Seven years later he went on to achieve the highest accolade of 3* Michelin – which he managed to retain for over 53 years, so far. Throughout retaining the stars in the hometown restaurant, Bocuse went on to expand the business in France and overseas with successful restaurants in Japan, US and Switzerland
3* Michelin since 1965 – longest of any Chef to date
The restaurant & now a legacy monument in Lyon, France.
In 1990 he set-up the Institut Paul Bocuse, which now welcomes over 1,000 Culinary professionals studying all aspects of Hospitality Management, Food Service and Culinary Arts - spread over 6 centres worldwide.
The Bocuse D’Or trophies
Highly regarded in the modern gastronomy world and widely credited as the Chef who championed nouvelle cuisine – a “healthier” version of haute cuisine by relying less on the use of heavy sauces.
An inspirational character and a Chef throughout many generations, for those who were lucky to be mentored under Paul Bocuse and those who will continue to live his spirit and passion, even after his passing. After all – not may Chefs can be carrying accolades such as “Chef of the Century” from 2 different award bodies.
Always teaching, creating and inspiring
He has also founded the Bocuse D’Or – since its inception in 1987, is regarded as the world’s most prestigious cooking competition, perhaps equivalent to the FIFA World Cup in sports terms, although Bocuse D’Or is a biannual event.
Chef Bocuse cooking in Lyon circa 1980
A legend leaving one scholar with an everlasting memory
A man with a work ethic incomparable to most at such an age - his incredible culinary skill, dedication, passion, inspiration and kindness is what earned him the title as the “Pope of Gastronomy”.
The official release from the Bocuse family:
“DEATH OF PAUL BOCUSE SATURDAY 20 JANUARY 2018 at 10H"
It is with immense pain that we inform you of the death of Paul Bocuse. Our "captain" died on January 20 at 10 am, at the dawn of his 92 years.
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.
Mr. Paul loved life, sharing, transmission, and his crew. These same values will continue to inspire us forever.
Ms. Raymonde Bocuse, Mrs. Françoise Bocuse-Bernachon, Mr. Jérôme Bocuse.”
Social Media has exploded with tributes following the sad news of his death with chefs, restaurateurs, gastronomes and even the president of France taking to the platforms to express their gratitude and a wishing a peaceful journey ahead for Monsieur Paul, as he will be remembered by so many.
Rest in peace Monsieur Paul, may your legacy live on with all of us.