Paul Bocuse (pronounced [pɔl bokyz]) (11 February 1926 – 20 January 2018) was a French chef based in Lyon who was known for the high quality of his restaurants and his innovative approaches to cuisine. A student of Eugénie Brazier, he was one of the most prominent chefs associated with the nouvelle cuisine, which is less opulent and calorific than the traditional cuisine classique, and stresses the importance of fresh ingredients of the highest quality. Paul Bocuse claimed that Henri Gault first used the term, nouvelle cuisine, to describe food prepared by Bocuse and other top chefs for the maiden flight of the Concorde airliner in 1969.
Contributions to French gastronomy
Bocuse made many contributions to French gastronomy both directly and indirectly, because he had numerous students, many of whom have become notable chefs themselves. One of his students was Austrian Eckart Witzigmann, one of four Chefs of the Century and the first German-speaking and the third non-French-speaking chef to receive three Michelin stars. Since 1987, the Bocuse d’Or has been regarded as the most prestigious award for chefs in the world (at least when French food is considered), and is sometimes seen as the unofficial world championship for chefs. Bocuse received numerous awards throughout his career, including the medal of Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur.
The Culinary Institute of America honoured Bocuse in their Leadership Awards Gala on 30 March 2011. He received the “Chef of the Century” award. In July 2012, in the New York Times the Culinary Institute of America announced that they would change the name of their Escoffier Restaurant to the Bocuse Restaurant, after a year-long renovation.
In 1975, he created soupe aux truffes (truffle soup) for a presidential dinner at the Elysée Palace. Since then, the soup has been served in Bocuse’s restaurant near Lyon as Soupe V.G.E., VGE being the initials of former president of France Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.