Joël Robuchon, the French chef behind two restaurants at the MGM Grand, died today at age 73. Robuchon earned the title Chef of the Century from Gault Millau in 1987.
Le Figaro reports the chef died from complications of cancer in Switzerland. Last year, he received treatment for a pancreatic tumor.
Many considered Robuchon the most influential French chef in the world with his nouvelle cuisine that featured deep flavors and complex preparations. His mashed potatoes, made with butter, butter, and more butter, become on of his signature dishes, served by the spoonful on his menus at his namesake restaurants.
Robuchon really made his name at Jamin in Paris, the restaurant where Gordon Ramsay began his professional career) his first independent restaurant opened in 1981. The restaurant won three Michelin stars in three consecutive years, and was frequently called the greatest in the world until Robuchon abruptly relocated to Joël Robuchon in 1994, before retiring in 1995. MGM Resorts brought Robuchon into the fold with his namesake restaurant with its multi-course degustation menus and trolleys with breads, teas, desserts, and cognacs floating through the jewe-lbox of a room. Next door, his L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon features counter seating to watch chefs put together the complex dishes.
Robuchon’s roster of restaurants currently holds 32 stars across 13 countries.
Cluade Le-Tohic, who won a Best Chef Southwest from the James Beard Foundation while running the kitchen of Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand, wrote on Facebook: “Words cannot even begin to express how deeply saddened I am by the news of Chef Joël Robuchon’s passing. He was a mentor and a dear friend. He will forever hold a place in our hearts and his culinary legacy will live on. My deepest condolences to the family.”
Sebastian Dumonet, Robuchon’s former director of operations in Las Vegas, wrote on Facebook: “You often told me that passing on one’s knowledge was necessary; that nothing we did in restaurants or in the kitchen was proprietary: for when a grandfather died without passing on his knowledge, a library was lost to the world. Thank you for having created environments - in and out of the kitchen - where young minds could come to learn and grow.
“You taught me many things over the past 6 years, and I selfishly only wish to have had more time with you, as do many others. Thank you for sharing your passion, your knowledge, your integrity, your support, your belief, and your humor. The world lost more than a great chef today, and I lost more than a mentor. You were an amazing friend and you will be dearly missed.
“Your legacy will not be left on the pages of books you’ve written nor those written about you, but in the people you’ve touched and brought together. Thank you for creating a community fueled by your chase to perfection.”
MGM Resorts and the MGM Grand also offered their thoughts on Robuchon.
“We are saddened at the news of Mr. Robuchon’s passing and offer our sincerest sympathy to his family during this time,” says MGM Resorts International senior vice president of food and beverage Ari Kastrati in a press statement to Eater Vegas. “Mr. Robuchon always set the bar when it came to delivering the very best cuisine, service and hospitality — the many renowned awards and accolades he received during his career are a testament to his devotion to his craft. Even more so, though, it was the way he inspired people that is so memorable. Whether in the kitchen working alongside his chef teams or at a culinary event where fans lined up to see him, you could always tell that he brought an immense amount of happiness to others. His culinary genius will continue to live on in the minds and hearts of all he touched.”
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Joel Robuchon,” says MGM Grand vice president of food and beverage Jason Shkorupa in a press statement to Eater Vegas. “The knowledge, innovation and talent he brought to the culinary industry are unparalleled and as a result, chef Robuchon can be credited with igniting a deep passion within chefs and culinary professionals for decades passed and to come. His legacy will forever be remembered in restaurant kitchens, households and the hearts of those he inspired here in Las Vegas and around the world.”
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