Paul Bocuse

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Paul Bocuse

Paul Bocuse [ pɔl bokyz ] (born February 11, 1926 in Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or ; † January 20, 2018 there ) was a French cook , restaurateur and cookbook author . He is the most important pioneer of nouvelle cuisine and is considered one of the best chefs of the 20th century. His restaurant L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges (also known as "Paul Bocuse") was awarded three Michelin stars from 1965 to 2019 without a break . In 1989 he was named "Chef of the Century" by Gault Millau . Paul Bocuse had many students who became well-known chefs themselves, in Germany these are above all Eckart Witzigmann , Heinz Winkler and Franz Keller .

life and work

Maître Paul Bocuse greets his guests in the form of a wall painting in front of his restaurant L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges .
Wall painting next to the restaurant "L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges" by Paul Bocuse
Restaurant L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges
(interior view, August 2013)

At the age of nine, Paul Bocuse was already a cook in his father's kitchen. He completed his training as a chef with the three-star chef Eugénie Brazier in Lyon . Most recently, he ran five brasseries in Lyon and two restaurants in Collonges au Mont d'Or, L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges and L'Abbaye de Collonges au Mont d'Or .

His great-grandfather Nicolas opened a restaurant on the banks of the Saône in 1840 . Bocuse took over this restaurant from his father in the third generation, after completing an apprenticeship as a chef in various restaurants in Lyon and Paris in the 1940s and for six years at the stove of Fernand Point , the owner of the three-star restaurant La Pyramid in Vienne , had perfected his knowledge.

In 1943, at the age of 17, Bocuse joined the Resistance . He was seriously injured in fighting in the Vosges and was saved with blood transfusions thanks to a US field hospital. In the hospital he had a Gallic rooster tattooed on his left upper arm , with which he later had himself photographed several times. On June 18, 1945 he was able to take part in the great victory parade on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Nouvelle cuisine

A “pioneering role in establishing nouvelle cuisine ” in the 1960s was taken over by his circle of friends of up to 22 chefs at times. This "Bande à Bocuse" included the brothers Jean and Pierre Troisgros , Paul Haeberlin , Alain Chapel and Louis Outhier, but no chefs from Paris. Bocuse exchanged recipes with his colleagues in order to preserve the tradition of the old Lyonnais cuisine. This kitchen is characterized above all by high quality products from the region and their greatest possible freshness.

In contrast to his nouvelle cuisine colleagues Alain Senderens and Michel Guérard , he stuck to the regional cuisine, which focuses on fresh products from the market, is based on the season and regionality. He criticized the later trend of nouvelle cuisine towards smaller and smaller portions and rising prices: "Nothing on the plate - everything on the bill." [...] "Nouvelle cuisine has exaggerated French cuisine into the absurd."

In Germany, Bocuse is particularly associated with the term nouvelle cuisine , as the German translation of his 500-page book La Cuisine du Marché (1976) (Die Küche des Markt) was published by Econ Verlag in 1977 under the title Die neue Küche . Paul Bocuse became known to the German television audience through the television series Bocuse à la carte: French cooking with the master , which was shown in 13 episodes on ZDF from September 15, 1985 . The recipes were published as a book. He later distanced himself from cooking shows , according to Marc Haeberlin , Bocuse said: "I've worked my whole life to get the cooks to come out from behind the stove and come out, but now I have to work on getting them back on the stove."

When Bocuse visited the Tantris restaurant in Munich in 1980 , when he entered the kitchen he first shook hands with the confused dishwasher, not the cooks; Bocuse always did this to convey to the chefs: We are a team, everyone is important.

In his book Cuisine de France , published in 1990 , he once again made it clear that the ideal kitchen is a down-to-earth cuisine based on fresh products from the market, which are based on the seasons and highlight regional traditions: “The kitchen makes up 20% of the restaurant off, the rest is atmosphere, ”said Bocuse.

Like most celebrity chefs, Bocuse hardly ever cooked himself, which he frankly admitted. When asked who cooks when he is not there himself, he said: “The same one who cooks when I'm there.” Monsieur Ferrari did not build his own cars either, he justified his withdrawal from the kitchen. The chef at L'Auberge du pont de Collonges has been Christophe Muller since 1995, who was honored with the Meilleur Ouvrier de France award in 2000 .


Bocuse not only marketed himself, but also delicatessen products; including wine from our own vineyards, champagne, tea, jams, terrines and preserves. He brought this onto the international market under the Bocuse label . In 1979 he was criticized for his canned soups by Lothar Eiermann in an open letter entitled "Adieu à un Roi" ("Farewell to a King"). Bocuse called Eiermann an asshole and wrote his boss to check Eiermann's employment.

In 1982 he opened the Pavillon de France restaurant in the Epcot Center in Orlando , USA, a Disney World theme park, together with the chef Roger Vergé and the pastry chef Gaston Lenôtre . The annual turnover of its around 20 restaurants and a hotel complex around the world as well as its culinary products and kitchen appliances amounted to almost 50 million euros in 2012 with around 700 employees.

In 1987, Bocuse founded the most important international cooking competition for professional chefs , the Bocuse d'Or , which takes place every two years in Lyon.

In 1990, the French government and Paul Bocuse founded the Institut Paul Bocuse - École de Management Hôtellerie Restauration & Arts Culinaires ( German : Paul Bocuse Institute - School for Hotel Industry , Gastronomy and Culinary Arts) in the Château du Vivier, which is in the Lyon suburb of Écully ). In 2010, 320 students from 37 nations were trained here in a three-year course. Of around 600 applicants per year, around 100 were accepted in 2010 and 25 to 30 students in 2013. In 2008 the institute was expanded to include a research institute. The Center de Recherche Institut Paul Bocuse deals, among other things, with healthier nutrition and offers three-year doctorates on gastronomic dissertation topics.


The high point of his career was when President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing was made Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1975. On this occasion, the honored chef prepared a five-course meal with twelve top chefs - including Paul and Jean-Pierre Haeberlin , Michel Guérard and Jean Troisgros -Menu, which they then ate with the President in the Elysée Palace . The black truffle soup , a starter with a large puff pastry dome, the name of which bears the initials of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing as an addition, has since been legendary and can still be found on the menu of his restaurant as “La soupe aux Truffes VGE” and tasted at the beginning of 2018 him 87 euros.

Meilleur Ouvrier de France 1961 is the medal he always wore for official photos and which was available as a paper napkin ring for every guest in his restaurants. In addition, plates and cutlery bear his initials. Bocuse was an excellent self-promoter, media star and French national hero.

Since the renovation of the municipal market hall in Lyon from 2004 to 2006 in the La Part-Dieu business district ( 3rd arrondissement ), the market hall has been named Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse in honor of Bocuse . Bocuse had made purchases for his restaurants from many vendors in the market hall.

Private life

Bocuse was a collector of fairground organs which he had set up in the basement and dining room of his restaurant L'Abbaye de Collonges au Mont d'Or and which are used at banquets for larger parties.

Shortly before his 80th birthday, his memoirs appeared: Le feu sacré ( German : The holy fire ), with a foreword by Giscard d'Estaing, who once cooked for him . This biography also revealed details from his private life: for decades he lived with three women and maintained three households. He was married to his wife Raymonde, with whom he had the daughter Françoise, since 1946. He was together with Raymone Carlut, the mother of his son Jérôme Bocuse , for more than 50 years and with a third partner, Patricia Zizza, co-founder of his company Les Produits Paul Bocuse, for 35 years . With her he had the daughter and journalist Ève-Marie Zizza-Lalu, who wrote his memoirs with him. Quote: "I do what every man dreams of." In the last years of his life, Bocuse suffered from Parkinson's .

On January 26, 2018, 1,500 chefs from France and abroad as well as high-ranking politicians bid farewell to Bocuse in Lyon Cathedral . His colleagues paid their last respects with their white chef's jacket. At the end of the funeral service, the organ of the cathedral played Bocuse 's favorite song, Edith Piafs,Non, je ne regrette rien ” ( no, I have no regrets ). Originally, the funeral was to be held with a simple ceremony in the small church of Collonges, as he wished. But that soon turned out to be impossible because so many people wanted to say goodbye to him personally, explained Jérôme Bocuse. Paul Bocuse was buried on the Cimetière communal in his home parish of Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or.


Paul Bocuse was a innovator in French haute cuisine . At Fernand Point he had learned: “Meat and fish were cooked less thoroughly, sauces were no longer bound with flour, the portions were reduced, flavors were concentrated and spices were only used to emphasize the taste of the food.” “The portions were small, but for good reason: the menu sequences at Bocuse ultimately comprised six to twelve courses. "

At the same time, with the Lyonnais tradition of the highest possible product freshness and quality, he maintained respect for food. Tradition and renewal came together in his interpretation of nouvelle cuisine , which was primarily brought to life by Michel Guérard . However , it was only with Bocuse and his circle of friends that nouvelle cuisine established itself as a global cooking trend. After his departure from nouvelle cuisine at the end of the 1980s, traditional product quality and filling portions dominated again, of which only the product quality in haute cuisine could assert itself.

Furthermore, he established today's professional profile and goal of the chef, no longer working as a dependent employee in the (basement) kitchen, but becoming an independent entrepreneur with his own restaurant. "Bocuse had the courage to come out of his kitchen," as Jean-François Mesplède put it, the former head of the Michelin restaurant guide. The internationally known master chef Joël Robuchon says: “Paul Bocuse brought the chefs out of their kitchens, worldwide. At the time, cooking was an unrecognized profession ”.

Awards (selection)

Trophies of the Bocuse d'Or

Publications (selection)


  • Bocuse à la carte: Cooking French with the master. Cooking show , BR Germany, weekly series in thirteen parts of 25 minutes each, 1985, production: ZDF , first broadcasts: September 15, 1985 - October 27, 1985 on ZDF, synopsis by Der Spiegel .
  • Bon Appétit Paul Bocuse. Cooking show, BR Germany, weekly series in thirteen parts of 25 minutes each, 1989, moderation: Petra Schürmann , production: ZDF, first broadcasts: March 17, 1989 - June 16, 1989 on ZDF, summary by , Heinz Winkler assisted Bocuse .

Web links

Commons : Paul Bocuse  - collection of images, videos and audio files

About Bocuse:

Individual evidence

  1. Thibaut Danancher: Paul Bocuse, le pape de la gastronomy, est mort. In: Le Point , January 20, 2018, accessed January 22, 2018, with video.
  2. a b c d Bernd Matthies : On the death of Paul Bocuse. The chef of the century. In: Tagesspiegel , January 20, 2018.
  3. a b c Burkhard Müller-Ullrich : Top chef Paul Bocuse died at 91. In: Deutschlandfunk , January 20, 2018.
  4. a b c Wolfram Siebeck : With the old master. In: Die Zeit , June 20, 2013.
  5. Süddeutsche Zeitung: Paul Bocuse's gourmet temple loses third star. Retrieved January 18, 2020 .
  6. Nos maisons. In: , accessed on January 22, 2018.
  7. Birgit Pichler: Paul Bocuse: The most famous chef in the world is 90 years old. In: Kleine Zeitung , February 11, 2016.
  8. Vincent Klink: Adieu, Bocuse! In: stern , January 21, 2018.
  9. ^ Photo in Mathias Guthmann: Paul Bocuse, Le feu sacré. In: , May 1, 2015.
  10. Christoph Teuner : King of cooks. In: Falstaff , May 29, 2015.
  11. a b c Father of “Nouvelle Cuisine”: French top chef Paul Bocuse has died. In: / Munzinger-Archiv , January 20, 2018.
  12. ↑ due date. February 11, 2006 - 80 years ago: Paul Bocuse was born in Lyon. In: WDR , February 11, 2006.
  13. a b Film data: Bocuse à la Carte. In: .
  14. a b Christoph Wöß: Celebrations for Paul Bocuse. The chef of the century turns 85. In: , February 11, 2011.
  15. In Buddhism "Tantris" means: search for perfection
  16. ^ Paul Bocuse: The new kitchen. Preface. 1977.
  17. a b Axel Veiel: Portrait. The French chef Paul Bocuse is celebrating his 90th birthday. In: Badische Zeitung , February 11, 2016.
  18. Christian Euler: The Bocuse legacy. In: enjoyment.luxus. , July 21, 2015.
  19. Guest Chef January 2017: Christophe Muller. In the footsteps of a grand seigneur. In: hangar-7 .com , January 14, 2017, accessed on January 22, 2018.
  20. War of the Cooks
  21. ^ Hélène Huret and Rachelle Lemoine: Bocuse, un appétit d'ogre. In: Le Parisien , January 21, 2013, (French), accessed January 22, 2018.
  22. Histoire. In: Institut Paul Bocuse , accessed on January 25, 2018: “Paul Bocuse, fondateur de l'École en 1990”.
  23. a b Christoph Wirtz: Paul Bocuse Institute. By God in France. In: manager magazin , November 4, 2010.
  24. Stevan Paul : Institut Paul Bocuse: Why do you want to learn to cook? In: Die Zeit / Effilee , April 3, 2013.
  25. ( Page no longer available , search in web archives: La brochure Center de Recherche. ) In: Institut Paul Bocuse , (PDF; 20 p., 4.2 MB), (French, English), accessed on 25 January 2018@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  26. Recipe: À La Carte: “Soupe aux truffes” - Black truffle soup “Valéry Giscard d'Estaing”. In: Deutsche Welle , May 26, 2005.
  27. ^ Halles de Lyon - Paul Bocuse. In: City of Lyon , accessed January 24, 2018.
  28. Lyon Market Hall - Paul Bocuse, Art of Good Eating. Gourmet walk. In: Air France , (German), accessed January 24, 2018.
  29. Vincent Klink : Pilgrimage to God in France. In: Der Tagesspiegel , November 29, 2009.
  30. Stéphane Davet: Mort de Paul Bocuse. In: Le Monde , January 20, 2018, (French), accessed January 22, 2018.
  31. ^ Lyon: le chef Paul Bocuse, 87 ans, hospitalisé pour des douleurs au dos. In: Le Parisien , January 3, 2014, (French), accessed on January 22, 2018.
  32. AFP : obsèques de Paul Bocuse: 1500 du monde entier chefs présents à Lyon. In: Le Figaro , January 26, 2018.
  33. The grave of Paul Bocuse. In: Klaus Nerger, accessed on September 6, 2018 .
  34. Holger Hettinger: The Fresh Kitchen King. In: Deutschlandfunk , February 11, 2016.
  35. Christian Böhmer and Sebastian Kunigkeit / DPA : “Chef of the Century” - how Paul Bocuse revolutionized French cuisine. In: stern , January 20, 2018.
  36. 3 stars in the Michelin Guide since 1965. In: ViaMichelin .
  37. ^ Review by Mathias Guthmann: Paul Bocuse, Le feu sacré . In: , May 1, 2015.
       spä / zie: Holy Fire. Paul Bocuse, the chef of the cooks, remembers. In: Die Berliner Literaturkritik , November 18, 2005.
  38. movie data: Bon Appétit Paul Bocuse. In: .
  39. Vera Altrock: Star chef Winkler guest of honor at gourmet price. ( Memento from January 22nd, 2018 in the web archive ). In: Hamburger Abendblatt , May 20, 2011.