The most decorated Michelin starred chef in history, Joël Robuchon, whose restaurants have been featured in many hotels including two at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, died from cancer on Monday in Geneva at the age of 73.
Robuchon’s culinary career spanned more than four decades and started when he took command of the kitchen at the Concorde La Fayette Hotel (now the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile) at the age of 29. He went on to be executive chef and food and beverage manager of Hotel Nikko in Paris where he earned two Michelin stars. From there, he opened his first restaurant in 1981, Jamin.
In 2003, the first L’atelier de Joel Robuchon opened in Paris. The restaurant concept, influenced by tapas bars in Spain, was created when he askedglobally-recognized French interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon to craft a space that replaced the classic gold and white colors specific to many luxury French restaurants with black and red. The goal was to create an intimate place with 15 to 20 seats and one or two chefs cooking in an open kitchen that could be observed by guests from counters instead of tables.
The success in Paris encouraged Robuchon to develop the concept on a global scale: Las Vegas in 2005; New York, London and Hong Kong in 2006; Taipei in 2009; at the Publicis Drugstore in Paris in 2010; and in Singapore in 2011. Since then, many more Robuchon restaurants have opened all over the world, including Japanese-focused Yoshi at the Hotel Métropole Monte-Carlo in Monaco, France.
Robuchon is survived by his wife Janine Pallix and their two children, Sophie and Louis.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Joël Robuchon USA