Paul Bocuse: A Legend Passes?

Paul Bocuse, born on February 11, 1926 in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, was a French chef. He died on June 4, 2012, at the age of 86.

Friends and family are mourning the loss of a loved one.

That was the headline I read last night on multiple web sites and news sources.  It was a hoax.  Those news sources were duped and so was I.  Chef Bocuse is still with us.  It’s crazy that people think that perpetrating such a fraud is fun.  Myself and several of my fellows in the chef world were in genuine mourning last night.

The bright sight of such events is that it does give us a chance to celebrate a great life while it is still going on.

Death of Paul BocuseIn the world of chefs the name Paul Bocuse is held up as one of the universal heroes of the industry, easily on par with James Beard and even (dare I say) Auguste Escoffier.  Chef Bocuse is not a regular on Food Network nor is he a judge on Top Chef.  He is the guy that inspired all of those famous TV chefs.  In fact he trained many of them.  He is a living legend and the name sake of the hardest cooking contest in the entire world, the Bocuse d’Or.

In my days as a professional musician there were names that we uttered with reverence, they were performers who fell under the heading of a musician’s musician. The Canadian rock trio Rush is often referred to as a band’s band because of their virtuosity.  Well, Paul Bucose is a chef’s chef.

A good friend, Carl Tilley, the executive chef at renowned Kitchen on George had this to say about Chef Bocuse, “I remember watching highlights of the Bocuse d’Or competition when I was in Culinary School and being just blown away. He is one of the guys I would love to sit down and have dinner with.”

There’s a section of the Wikipedia entry on Chef Bocuse entitled “Contribution to French gastronomy.”  It hardly does him justice but here it is:

Bocuse made many contributions to French gastronomy both directly and indirectly, because he has had numerous students, many of whom have become famous chefs themselves. One of his students was Austrian Eckart Witzigmann, one of four Chefs of the Century and the first German-speaking and the third non-French-speaking chef to receive three Michelin stars. Since 1987, the Bocuse d’Or has been regarded as the most prestigious award for chefs in the world (at least when French food is considered), and is sometimes seen as the unofficial world championship for chefs. Paul Bocuse has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the medal of Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur.

The Culinary Institute of America honored Bocuse in their Leadership Awards Gala on 30 March 2011. He has received the “Chef of the Century” award.

In 1975, he created the world famous soupe aux truffes (truffle soup) for a presidential dinner at the Elysée Palace. Since then, the soup has been served in Bocuse’s restaurant near Lyon as Soupe V.G.E., V.G.E. being the initials of former president of France Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.

Lewis Black Talks “Artisanal” Foods

The Daily Show’s Lewis Black takes the pre-packaged processed food folks to task for their deceptive use of the word “artisan.”  It’s pretty good.  Check it.

Courtesy of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Is Aarti Canceled Or Does She Party On?

A no-brainer.  Aarti Party is easily the best Next Food Network Star series that Food Network’s most popular show has ever produced.  Aarti announced her second season simply saying, “YAAAAAAAAYYYYY! I’m on for a second Aarti with Sunny Anderson and Roger Mookingseason!!!”  Aarti’s Facebook announcement about being renewed received more than 500 “Likes” and nearly 200 comments in just 4 hours.  So much for the lunatic fringe that was hoping Aarti Party was canceled.

Season 3 of Aarti Party just wrapped taping and new episodes should start airing in July of 2011.  If the show keeps pulling the ratings it has been it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.  Or will it?

In fact, Aarti Party is going global.  Aarti recently announced that the show is headed across the pond.  From Aarti via her Facebook page, “What’s up ye olde United Kingdom? I’ve got some intensely exciting news. I’m going to be on Food Network UK starting August 1st! Tune in, what what!! (US folks, tell your UK friends about it too!)”

UPDATE:  Food Network has ceased shooting new episodes of Aarti Party after just three seasons.  However, Aarti’s show will live on with the Cooking Channel.  Aarti is now a regular contributor on Drop 5 lbs with Good Housekeeping with fellow NFS winner Melissa D’Arabian.  Aarti had this to say on her Facebook page, “Since everyone has been asking, and I don’t want to ignore you and make you think I don’t read your comments, I guess I should let you know that my show was not picked up. I found out last year but I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. I am doing tons of new stuff for FN and Cooking Channel though, and I can’t wait for you guys to see it!”

A quick review of FNS winners:

  1. Party Time with the Hearty Boys got six episodes then was canceled.  Was brought back for 13 episodes and then canceled again.
  2. Guy’s Big Bite is still in production after 120 plus episodes.
  3. The Gourmet Next Door got six episodes then was canceled.  Reportedly Food Network offered host Amy Finley 13 more episodes but she declined and moved to another country.
  4. Big Daddy’s House, despite atrocious ratings, was given 61 episodes before being canceled after five seasons.
  5. Ten Dollar Dinners has to date produced 32 episodes over three seasons.  Currently filming season four.  New episodes continue to air on Sundays while older episodes join the M-F daytime line-up beginning Sept. 26th.  The move to the daily line-up is a strong sign that Food Network plans to make many, many more episodes of Ten Dollar Dinners.
  6. Aarti’s Party produced 28 episodes over three seasons.  The ratings were quite good but Food Network has moved it to the Cooking Channel in re-runs only.
  7. The Sandwich King premiered to great reviews and a second season just started airing.
YAAAAAAAAYYYYY! I’m on for a second season!!!

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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