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Montreal’s Restaurant Industry Mourns the Loss of Joël Robuchon

The French chef died today at the age of 73

Grand Tasting At Vegas Uncork’d By Bon Appetit Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit

The death of world-famous French chef Joël Robuchon has shaken up members of the restaurant industry both in Montreal and abroad.

Robuchon was reported dead this morning at the age of 73, following a long battle with cancer. He was known as an eminently influential character both around the world and here in Montreal, following the opening of his branded location of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in 2016 at the Montreal Casino, his first location in Canada. While the restaurant was not without controversy (particularly on account of the province’s bankrolling of the establishment or the lack of highlighting local talent), the restaurant was still the recipient of praise across the board from critics.

The death of the Michelin star-studded chef—he received 32 stars across 13 countries—has shaken admirers and devotees. A forerunner of cuisine moderne, he’d made an indelible impact. L’Atelier was known for incorporating Canadian products since it first opened its doors. In a past interview with the Montreal Gazette, Robuchon shared a strong affinity for the terroir of Québec:

“I have tasted cheeses here that are better than anything I have eaten in France... Really, I am overwhelmed, awestruck, by all these local ingredients: cheeses and crabe des neiges, venison and lamb from small producers. It’s rare to see so much, of such exceptional quality.”

A glance at the local social media landscape alone reveals that Robuchon was a more than influential figure on the lives of several local chefs, establishments, and critics. They took the time to thank the chef for his contributions to the cooking world and to recognize the impact he made on the lives of others. This includes L’Atelier’s own executive chef Eric Gonzales: “My sincere condolences and all my thoughts to the whole family, to the relatives and all the collaborators of Mr. Robuchon,” Gonzalez writes. “Thank you for everything you have given us, (chef).”

To what extent Robuchon’s death will mean for L’Atelier at the Montreal Casino remains to be seen.

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