'Chefs Of The Century': Bocuse And 2 Others

Posted: November 22, 1989

French chefs Paul Bocuse and Joel Robuchon and Swiss chef Fredy Girardet have been named "chefs of the century" by the Gault-Millau guidebook.

The honor was a return to grace for Bocuse because the guide gave him back his fourth toque. The toque - a chef's hat - is Gault-Millau's symbol of excellence, and Bocuse was demoted to three toques by last year's guide.

Christian Millau, the guidebook's president and editor, said Bocuse's problem last year was turning out the same basic menu for years while other chefs were trying new ideas.

Bocuse, known as the "emperor of cuisine," also was criticized for traveling around the world rather than tending to the stockpots at his restaurant near Lyon.

Bocuse, in turn, accused Millau of always bringing his dog to the restaurant and not asking for the bill. But the spat simmered down.

"I was very happy to be named a chef of the century, and we've settled our differences," said Bocuse. "But the century isn't over yet. I think there's room for more of us up there."

He said he was flattered to be in the company of two legendary chefs who were posthumously named "chefs of the century": Auguste Escoffier and Fernand Point.

"Bocuse deserves his place at the top," said Millau, whose guidebook is celebrating its 20th anniversary. "He is an exceptional personality who has done more than anybody else to promote French cuisine abroad."

"But I consider Robuchon and Girardet more creative and visionary chefs," added Millau. "Especially Robuchon, who has known how to marry traditional cuisine with new tastes."

Robuchon made quite a name for himself by bringing back the mashed potato as a gourmet favorite - on menus with other specialties, such as sweet-sour mignonettes of venison and hot foie gras with cream of lentils.

All three "chefs of the century" are regularly awarded the top three stars in the Guide Michelin, considered the bible of restaurant guidebooks.

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A LOCAL RESTAURANT NOTE:

Chris Dhimitri, who owned and operated Kanpai, a Japanese restaurant in NewMarket, has opened Chris' Cafe at 1421 Sansom St., site of the original Pub restaurant, featuring lunch, dinner and late-night snacks.

ITALIAN COOKING CLASSES WILL BE HELD IN SOUTH PHILADELPHIA.

Classes will cover homemade pastas on Monday and holiday baking next Wednesday and Dec. 6. All classes will be given at La Cucina Italiana, 1307 Ellsworth St., from 7 to 9 p.m. The cost of each class is $40. For additional information, call 271-0519.

HERE'S AN EXPLANATION FOR WHY DIETERS REACH WEIGHT-LOSS PLATEAUS.

If you're like many dieters, you lose the first few pounds pretty easily and then hit a plateau at which it seems as if you're starving yourself with no results. Some researchers have suggested that the body adapts to a reduction in calories by turning down its metabolic rate. But recent studies suggest the real answer is that people don't lower their calorie intake as they lose weight. "Our data shows that if you continue to reduce calories, you will continue to lose weight," says William V. Rumpler of the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Md. Here's how it works: Say you lose 10 percent of your body weight. You now need 10 percent fewer calories to stay at that weight. To lose more, you need to adjust your calorie intake further downward.

STUDY SHOWS RICE BRAN AND OAT BRAN HAVE SIMILAR EFFECTS ON CHOLESTEROL.

The first U.S. study of the effects of rice bran on lowering cholesterol levels in humans has shown it to be almost as effective as oat bran. Researchers found participants given three ounces of rice bran daily over a six-week period experienced an average drop of more than 8 percent in their cholesterol levels and 13 percent in their levels of low-density lipoproteins, often called "bad cholesterol." The drops were 13 and 17 percent, respectively, for a group given oat bran, a difference the researchers did not consider significant. The results supported early findings of rice bran's effect on cholesterol in hamsters in a project carried out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The latest study was conducted by Ann Gerhardt, professor of internal medicine at the University of California at Davis and director of the cholesterol-management program at Sutter Community Hospital's Heart Institute in Sacramento. It was sponsored by Pacific Rice Products of Woodland, Calif., which supplied the rice bran and paid the expenses but did not participate in the administration of the study or the correlation of the results.

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