Joël Robuchon, the chef of the century, lets us in on his insatiable appetite for growth and nurturing the next generation
Legendary chef and restaurateur Joël Robuchon on defining his legacy and staying true to his culinary philosophy
Even as he grows his empire with openings in New York, Miami and Geneva, this legendary French chef is laying the groundwork for his most ambitious legacy project opening in 2019. Having just turned 73 in April, there seems to be no stopping “chef of the century”, Joël Robuchon. Long before holding the most Michelin stars under his group of restaurants, Robuchon was renowned for his rigour, professionalism and creativity in the kitchen, earning the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsmen of France) in Culinary Arts at age 31 in 1976.
Singapore is one of the chef ’s favourite stops, where he would visit at least three times a year to oversee the menus at three-star Joël Robuchon Restaurant and two-star L’atelier de Joël Robuchon. Unfortunately, he has since decided to close both restaurants. Their location away from the city in Sentosa can be a challenge Robuchon concedes, yet both have been a success due in part to the draw of the Michelin guide and the strong culture of the restaurant group. While little more was revealed at the time of print, there is speculation he would relocate L’atelier de Joël Robuchon to the heart of the city on Orchard Road.
Adjustments, it appears, are necessary in this ever competitve industry. Arriving from New York after opening L’atelier de Joël Robuchon in Manhattan in November last year, the imposing chef looked fresh and alert—and 27kg lighter—something he attributes to his organic, healthy new eating habits on which he managed to shed the weight in 2013, leading him to co-author a book with his doctor, Nadia Volf, called Food & Life. “Food has to be more and more healthy; this will be very important to diners,” he emphasises, noting that his restaurants are incorporating more organic and healthful ingredients such as turmeric and pomegranate.
IN THE SPIRIT
Robuchon takes great paternal delight in talking about