Pierre Troisgros, one of the important voices in the development of modern French cuisine today, has passed away at the age of 92.
“He was in his kitchen at Le Coteau waiting for his friends to play cards,” grandson Thomas Troisgros told The New York Times in an email, citing a heart attack as the cause of death.
“An emblematic figure of great French cuisine, Pierre Troigros was one of those chefs whose name has become an international reference in gastronomy”, writes Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides.
Pierre, along with his brother Jean, ran the Troisgros family restaurant called HÃ´tel Moderne in Roanne, France, inherited from parents Jean-Baptiste and Marie. âWithin this house, Pierre embodied the transmission and innovation that have always permeated the establishment’s kitchens,â writes Poullennec.
The restaurant was awarded a star in 1956, followed by a second in 1965 and a third in 1968 by Michelin and is a long-standing destination for epicureans (the restaurant is today run by the son of Pierre Michel and his daughter-in-law Marie-Pierre, and their sons CÃ©sar and LÃ©o).
“Brother Pierre in his big white toque was sitting playing gin rummy in the middle of the dining room, where the impressed pilgrims who stayed from lunch were still munching on petits fours when we arrived,” Gael Greene wrote of his visit to the Brothers in the 1970s. Troisgros in his famous revealing book, Insatiable. Since this was a town where shoe-making was the hot ticket, visitors with time to linger might find themselves hauling baskets with the sociable Troisgros brothers or following foraging expeditions between lunch. and dinner. ” (The tasting menu back then was only $ 13.50, Greene reported, although today’s menu is priced at $ 500 or around $ 580)
The scions who populated upscale restaurants from the 1960s to the 1980s are well aware of the impact of Troisgros’ contributions to the rise of nouvelle cuisine. A change from the heavy cream and butter preparations of the classic French technique, New Cuisine inspired a more streamlined and lighter approach to cooking.
“This style was influenced by the austere finesse of Japanese cuisine and known, at its extreme, for tiny portions on huge white plates, a caricature the Troisgros brothers never indulged in,” writes the famous writer. Gourmet Florence Maker in the New York Times obituary. for Pierre Troisgros (Jean died suddenly of a heart attack in 1983). âTheir contribution was to showcase the innate flavors of seasonal ingredients and reduce some of the over-the-top creations buried in thick sauces that now represented French haute cuisine. “
In 1973, Gault & Millau’s â10 commandments of new cuisineâ set out the critic’s definitive point of view on this style of cooking (Henri Gault would have invented the expression). The list included edicts not to overcook food, use fresh, quality ingredients, eliminate rich sauces and not medical presentations.
Similarities can be seen in the farm-to-table ethics of today’s cuisine in North America (although the concept was not new to French cooks), although the avoidance of the “systematic modernist” cuisine and fermentation / charcuterie is a striking contrast. Nonetheless, the influence of what the Troisgros started half a century ago will continue into future generations.