Chef Focus: A Homage to Joel
To hear of Chef Joël Robuchon’s passing at the age of 73 from cancer was a day of mourning for chefs all over the world. The French, Michelin-starred chef had been working in kitchens since he was fifteen years old, starting as an apprentice chef at the Relais of Poiters Hotel as a pastry chef.
Named as ‘Chef of the Century’ by French restaurant guide Gault Millau and awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France, Robuchon mentored some of the great chefs we know today such as Gordon Ramsay, Michael Caines, and Eric Ripert.
Robuchon holds the record of the most Michelin stars held by a single chef at 32 stars, three of which he earned during the first three years of his first restaurant Le Jamin, which he opened at the age of 36.
After a brief 8 year retirement, Robuchon returned to gastronomy by opening his restaurant and signature concept, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in 2005 in Paris and Tokyo. He commented that the concept of the restaurant was inspired by the ‘conviviality’ of Spanish Tapas bars and that he was ‘looking for a formula where something can happen between the customers and chefs.’ It was very important to Robuchon that his restaurants felt like a ‘relaxed, warm place’ where people could simply enjoy food.
His loss is felt dearly at Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes, not only because of his illustrious career but because of one specific recipe that revolutionised a simple dish:
Puree de Pomme
This is the recipe that made Robuchon the household name he is today. Known as an elevated mashed potato this recipe requires three simple ingredients (and a little elbow grease) but the results are exquisite.
If you would like to watch a tutorial on how to make this beautiful dish, we recommend this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbeetdcXnFY
• 2 lbs Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes (all of a similar size), we suggest Yukon Gold or Pink Fir Apple (most similar to ratte).
• 8-9oz unsalted butter (chilled), cut into small cubes.
• 125-175 ml warm milk
• Salt to taste
1. Place the unpeeled Heritage Potatoes into a pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a fast simmer.
2. Cook for 35-40 minutes or until tender.
3. Drain and peel the Heritage Potatoes.
4. Rice the Heritage Potatoes and place back into the cooking pot.
5. Warm over a low-medium heat, stirring until heated through.
6. Add butter gradually, allowing each addition of butter to be almost fully melted before adding the next.
7. Stir in the warm milk until combined. Using a whisk, vigorously whisk the Heritage Potatoes until fluffy and season.
8. Smooth the top of the Heritage Potatoes with a spatula or with the back of a spoon.
Try not to eat all at once!
We truly have lost a pioneer and bright shining light of the gastronomy industry. May his family find peace in his extraordinary life and legacy.
Rest in Peace Chef.