As the most Michelin starred chef in the world, Joël Robuchon has garnered 31 Michelin stars throughout his career. He’s achieved accolades, such as Meilleur Ouvrier de France, and Chef of The Century. Creating French food, with all the foundations of classic French gastronomy, but adapting the recipes for the region of the restaurants, Joël has changed the culinary world, and Les Ateliers continue to lead the way.
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Born 1945 in Poitiers, the son of a mason, nothing seemed to indicate that Joël Robuchon was destined for all the titled and distinctions he would receive in life. As the student of a seminary, he thought, at one point, that he should dedicate his life to God. However, he found his calling in gastronomy, becoming an apprentice and then a member of the ‘Compagnon du Tour de France’, at 21.
Aged twenty-nine, he took charge of the kitchens of l’Hôtel Concorde Lafayette, directing 90 cooks, and serving several thousand meals a day. His professionalism, rigour, confidence and creativity contributed to his glowing reputation. Two years later he was awarded ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France’, before he took his place as the executive chef of l’Hôtel Nikko.
Determined to go independent, he opened le Jamin at thirty-six, which was awarded its first star in its first year, and one more each year, for two years: this made le Jamin the fastest restaurant in Michelin history to be awarded three stars.
For more than ten years, le Jamin was extremely successful; at this point (1994), Joël Robuchon created a restaurant on avenue Raymond Poincaré bearing his name. The restaurant ‘Joël Robuchon’ was titled ‘The Best Restaurant in the World’, by the international Herald Tribue (1994). This was the start of an international success story: at fifty years old, he announced his retirement, in part so that he could dedicate himself to passing on his knowledge to the next generation of chefs.
Far from the pressure of the Michelin Stars, Joël Robuchon and his friend, Guy Job, took cooking to the television, making it more accessible and less mystified. For over a decade the show ‘Bon Appétit Bien Sûr’ had a cult following, offering a daily televised lesson on cooking. Every week a chef would present simple, and cheap recipes, as well as their tips and tricks on cooking. Since September 2011, Joël Robuchon has been contributing to ‘Planète Gourmande’, a weekly culinary magazine published by Guy Job: he shares his recipes and tricks, in the same vain as ‘Bon Appétit Bien Sûr’.
Responding to the needs of his clients around the world, Joël Robuchon has elaborated the concept of l’Atelier – the open kitchen, the convivial atmosphere and quality dishes – to suit the location of each restaurant. Continuing with his creation of a luxurious setting, all the while keeping the spirit of being sublimely straightforward, he opened a three-star restaurant, in Tokyo, located in a French-styled castle. The adaptability of the concept has meant that he was also able to open the three-star l’Atelier Macau, on top of the casino; a three-starred eatery in the heart of Las Vegas’ MGM Casino. As well as these exceptional establishments, there’s also the Restaurant de Joël Robuchon in Monaco (two stars), his Japanese restaurant, Yoshi (one star), tea rooms, patisseries and other outlets, all in the spirit of Joël Robuchon.