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Blaze destroys top French chef’s restaurant

Celebrity chef Marc Veyrat, the man considered by some to be the best in France, suffered a blow on Tuesday when he saw his renowned Alpine restaurant Maison des Bois devastated by a fire.

Blaze destroys top French chef's restaurant
Marc Veyrat at his restaurant Maison des Bois, which was destroyed by fire on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

The blaze at the Maison des Bois, at Manigod, 1,800 metres high up in the Alps of the Haute-Savoie, began at around 2am on Tuesday.

According to reports the fire started in the linen room and then spread to the roof leaving most of the restaurant destroyed.

Around 60 firefighters were called out to fight the blaze, with one of them ending up in hospital needing treatment for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters had extinguished the blaze inside the restaurant by mid-morning but were still battling to bring the fire under total control as it ravaged the roof of the wooden structure.

 

 

 

The owner Marc Veyrat, considered by some to be the best chef in France, was at the scene along with the mayor of the town.

"This is a life and a piece of French cultural history that has just goneup in flames," Veyrat told AFP.

"It's not just a restaurant but also a museum of popular art showing several pieces of furniture from the region. It's sad, but I'm a fighter. I'll be back," said Veyrat.

The highly acclaimed Veyrat is little known outside France but he is one of the stars of the French gastronomy scene and obtained a total of six Michelin stars in the past – (three stars for each of his other two restaurants).

He was also the first French chef to get the perfect grade of 20/20 in the respected Gault-Millau guide.

(Marc Veyrat in his Maison des Bois restaurant. Photo: AFP)

The Maison des Bois was his pride and joy and took two and half years to design and build before it finally opened in 2013.

Veyrat specialises in traditional dishes, with lots of wild herbs and a little "molecular gastronomy", chemistry-inspired recipes that produce new textures such as emulsions in cuisine.

Veyrat was badly injured in a skiing accident in 2006 after colliding with his daughter on the slopes near Megeve.

He handed back the six Michelin stars he had won (for two separate three-star restaurants) and only in 2013 re-entered the kitchen, opening his Alpine restaurant.

But such Michelin-starred genius does not come cheap.

According to his website, the top 12-course tasting menu at La Maison du Bois would set the diner back €325 ($344).

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RESTAURANT

‘Pope’ of French cuisine Paul Bocuse dies at age 91

Paul Bocuse, one of the greatest French chefs of all time, has died aged 91, the country's interior minister said on Saturday.

'Pope' of French cuisine Paul Bocuse dies at age 91
A 2012 photo shows French chef Paul Bocuse posing in his kitchen at L'Auberge de Pont de Collonges. Bocuse died at the age of 91 on Saturday. PHOTO: JEFF PACHOUD / AFP
Dubbed the “pope” of French cuisine, Bocuse helped shake up the food world in the 1970s with the Nouvelle Cuisine revolution and created the idea of the celebrity chef.
 
“Monsieur Paul was France. The pope of gourmets has left us,” tweeted Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, announcing the chef's death after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
 
“He was one of the greatest figures of French gastronomy, the General Charles de Gaulle of cuisine,” said French food critic Francois Simon, comparing him to France's wartime saviour and dominant postwar leader.
 
A giant in a nation that prides itself as the beating heart of gastronomy, Bocuse was France's only chef to keep the Michelin food bible's coveted three-star rating through more than four decades. The heart of his empire, L'Auberge de Collonges au Mont D'Or, his father's village inn near Lyon in food-obsessed southeastern France, earned three stars
in 1965, and never lost a single one.
 
Lover of food, wine and women
 
“Monsieur Paul,” as he was known, was named “chef of the century” by Michelin's rival guide, the Gault-Millau in 1989, and again by The Culinary Institute of America in 2011.”
 
Born in 1926 to a family of cooks since 1765, Bocuse began his apprenticeship at the age of 16 and came to epitomise a certain type of French epicurean — a lover of fine wine, food and women.
 
A great upholder of tradition as well as an innovator, several of his trademark dishes at the Auberge remained unchanged for decades, such as the bass in a pastry crust or the black truffle soup he created for French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing in 1975, who named him a commander in the Legion of Honour.
 
He slept in the same room where he was born, and managed to maintain a relationship with his wife Raymonde and at least two lovers.
 
“I love women and we live too long these days to spend one's entire life with just one,” Bocuse told the Daily Telegraph in 2005.
 
Together with the Gault-Millau guide, Bocuse became a driving force behind the Nouvelle Cuisine, sweeping away the rich and heavy sauces of yesteryear in favour of super-fresh ingredients and sleek aesthetics. Bocuse reportedly claimed the term was invented by Gault-Millau to describe food he helped prepare for the maiden flight of the Concorde airliner in 1969.
 
Slashing cooking times, paring down menus and paying new attention to health, Nouvelle Cuisine was a craze that fizzled out but left a lasting legacy.
 
“It was a real revolution,” said Simon. “They coined a concept that came at exactly the right moment — at a time when gastronomy was a bit dull and heavy, with thick sauces, not sexy at all.”
 
In 2007, more than 80 top chefs flew to France from around the world to celebrate his 81st birthday and his legacy.