'Top Chef' Celebrity Guest Joel Robuchon Dead at 73

Acclaimed French chef Joel Robuchon has died at age 73, TMZ reports.

Robuchon has been named "cook of the century," and had an enormous impact on the culinary world thanks to his decision to shake things up when it came to French cuisine.

One of Robuchon's contributions to the industry was allowing diners to see how their food was prepared, giving them a look at the kitchen with seating near the prep station.

Throughout his career, the chef appeared on numerous culinary television shows including Top Chef.

His playful and creative nature provided a welcome contrast to the buttoned-up world of French cuisine, sharing his food with diners around the world in dozens of his restaurants. Robuchon's Atelier business model featured small restaurants, many without tables, that allowed diners to sit at a counter around the kitchen and interact with the chef as their food was being prepared.

While he often used luxurious ingredients like truffles, foie gras and caviar, the chef was famous for touting the importance of recognizable food and preached the use of just three or four ingredients in many of his dishes.

"The older I get, the more I realise the truth is: the simpler the food, the more exceptional it can be," he told Business Insider in 2014, via the BBC. "I never try to marry more than three flavours in one dish. I like walking into a kitchen and knowing that the dishes are identifiable and the ingredients within them easy to detect."

For years, Robuchon was the holder of the most Michelin stars in the world, having 32 to his name as of 2016 and 31 as of this year. The Washington Post shares that he was also named one of the best craftsmen in France in 1976 and was chosen to be a chef at the "dinner of the century."

While he created plenty of dazzling dishes over the course of his career, one of his most famous was simple mashed potatoes.

"These mashed potatoes, it's true, made my reputation. I owe everything to these mashed potatoes," he once said during a demonstration. "Maybe it's a little bit of nostalgia, Proust's madeleines. Everyone has in his memory the mashed potatoes of his mother, the mashed potatoes of his grandmother."

The chef passed away in Geneva from pancreatic cancer.


"To describe Joel Robuchon as a cook is a bit like calling Pablo Picasso a painter, Luciano Pavarotti a singer, Frederic Chopin a pianist," Patricia Wells wrote in L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. "Joel Robuchon will undoubtedly go down as the artist who most influenced the 20th-century world of cuisine."

Photo Credit: Getty / Sergi Alexander