Over the weekend, I learned of the death of Paul Bocuse, who was perhaps the single most influential chef of the latter 20th century. He was part of the group that revolutionized not only French cuisine, but modern haute cuisine in general. Any chef who was influenced by the tenets of nouvelle cuisine owes him a debt.
At his restaurant near Lyon, France, he collected Michelin stars like candy. He was awarded the distinction of the French Legion of Honor and named chef of the century by the Culinary Institute of America. He founded the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition held in Lyon, known as the “Olympics of Food.” All of you who have coveted a meal at the French Laundry while happily touring and tasting Napa wines, you are yearned for the cooking of chef Thomas Keller, part of the American team that won the Bocuse d’Or for the first time last year.
And so, I offer a few French bites. For a fabulous photo of Bocuse wearing his toque, with his battalion of copper pots, the obituary in The New York Times is excellent.
Meanwhile, when you eat the escargots, duck terrine, or Dover sole at Cadot; the “gambas et coquilles St. Jacques en mille feuilles” or veal medallions with wild mushrooms at Lavendou; and especially when you eat the divine quenelles de Lyon in lobster sauce at chef Bruno Davaillon’s new Bullion, you are following in the footsteps of Bocuse. You are swimming in his stream.
If you have a favorite French dish or French food memory in Dallas, let’s hear about it.