French master chef Joel Robuchon has died at the age of 73.
A spokeswoman for Robuchon confirmed that he died, with French TV station BFM and newspaper Le Figaro reporting that he died in Geneva on Monday from cancer, citing his entourage.
His career was one of superlatives: Named among the best craftsmen in France in 1976, crowned cook of the century in 1990, one of the cooks at the “dinner of the century,” and, for years, holder of the most Michelin stars in the world.
Robuchon was known for his constant innovation and even playfulness in the kitchen – a revelation to the hidebound world of French cuisine.
He had built an empire of gourmet restaurants across the world.
TheCaterer.com reported that Robuchon started his professional career in the kitchen at age 15, going on to gain 31 Michelin stars across 13 countries.
At the time of his death he still held 28 of his stars.
He was seen as the pioneer of the post-nouvelle movement, and a mentor to Gordon Ramsay, who described working for him as like doing a stint for the SAS.
After a period of work on TV and recipe writing, he returned to the fray in 2003, developing the L’Atelier concept which spread around the world and picked up scores of stars, it reported.
He also chaired the committee for Larousse Gastronomique to preserve French cooking techniques for generations to come.
The industry tributes flowed after the news broke online.
Tragic summer for foodies continues. First Bourdain, then Jonathan Gold, now French "genius of gastronomy" Joel Robuchon dies https://t.co/IMZTVVuFqD
— Dan Stewart (@thatdanstewart) August 6, 2018
Joel Robuchon 1947-2018
A very sad day for any of us in our industry and for the millions of other who were touched by this amazing man. When I was 23 I almost crapped myself being part of a team cooking him a birthday dinner in NYC. Over the years he was beyond kind to me. #sad
— Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern) August 6, 2018
Another genius gone. RIP joel robuchon. pic.twitter.com/2iIVd2EuIA
— Chris Fearon (@chrisfearon80) August 6, 2018