Pierre Troisgros (left) and his lifelong accomplice Paul Bocuse during a trip to Moscow.


JF Mesplède

  • Pierre Troisgros, three-star chef in the Michelin Guide, died Wednesday at the age of 92.

  • As part of the "Bocuse gang", he embodied alongside his brother Jean, the revival of French gastronomy.

  • Inventor of salmon with sorrel, he was one of the first chefs to leave the kitchen to greet his customers in the dining room.

He was perhaps the most discreet of the "Bocuse gang".

The three-starred Roanne chef Pierre Troisgros passed away this Wednesday at the age of 92, thus joining “Monsieur Paul” his lifelong accomplice in heaven.

The one with which he had made his debut behind the furnaces of Fernand Point.

The one with whom he had formed an extraordinary friendship for 70 years.

Inseparable from his brother Jean, Pierre Troisgros was part of this generation of chefs who revolutionized French cuisine in the early 1960s. “We had Auguste Escoffier, the first to have shaken up traditions, the man who invented cuisine modern at the beginning of the 20th century.

And then, nothing more happened.

We had to wait half a century for this generation of geniuses to emerge, ”explains Emmanuel Rubin, food critic at

Le Figaro

and co-founder of the Fooding guide.

Hold out a plate like you hold out a mirror

“They had the great intelligence to understand that at the beginning of the 1960s, society had changed, the public had changed, table manners had changed,” continues Emmanuel Rubin.

The middle class was no longer the same as that of the 1940s and 1950s. We were in the presence of people who wanted to eat well while doing themselves good.

They knew how to hold out a plate like holding a mirror ”.

"They brought a new vision of cuisine: less heavy, more digestible", adds Jean-François Mesplède, former director of the Michelin Guide.

The group of quadras is betting to remove the flour from the sauces, to put much less butter in their dishes and to make shorter juices.

They make more room for products and completely revisit the basics of traditional French cuisine.

Without ever disappointing the palates of gourmets.

And Pierre Troisgros particularly made an impression by inventing his signature dish: salmon with sorrel.

The inventor of salmon with sorrel

“He had the idea of ​​marrying the fat of fish with the acidity of sorrel.

While we used to overcook salmon, he decided to cook it in a rosy way, explains Jean-François Mesplède.

At the time, the chronicler of

Le Monde

hailed this initiative by talking about an intelligent dish.

And its recipe has become emblematic ”.

“Discreet”, even “shy”, the Roanne chef who won his third star in 1968, will be one of the first to greet customers in the dining room.

“It was very innovative for the time,” recalls the former director of the Michelin Guide.

Pierre Troisgros and his brother allowed cooks to finally be considered and to obtain a new social status.

Before, the job was thankless, poorly paid.

With them, everything changed.

They have become owners of their businesses, masters of their destinies ”.

The cooks, led by the media Paul Bocuse, earn their star stripes.

But the Troisgros brothers shun the lights of television sets, preferring the heat of their stoves.

A discreet stove star

“Their strength has been knowing how to work as a family, with four hands without ever getting angry,” continues Emmanuel Rubin.

I believe this teamwork calmed the egos.

Without wanting to criticize Paul Bocuse's career, we cultivated discretion and humility within the Troisgros house ”.

“Their strength is above all to have known how to renew themselves perpetually, they have constantly questioned themselves.

And when we know the pressure generated by obtaining the third star, we know that these are rare things in this profession ”, underlines Jean-François Mesplède, insisting on the feat of having succeeded in keeping the three macaroons for over 50 years.

From generation to generation.

"In this family, there were heirs who knew how to stay in the spirit of what the parents had transmitted to them, but who knew how to live with their time by perpetually renewing themselves", he explains.

Starting with Michel Troisgros, Pierre's son.

Then today Caesar and Leo, the grandsons.

“Pierre Troisgros was serious about his work, but he was bonhomie incarnate.

He knew how to relax and have fun, ”recalls Jean-François Mesplède.

And to evoke a memory on the terrace of the Pouchkine café in Moscow, where Paul Bocuse and Pierre Troisgros had surprised the audience: “They had started singing a Burgundian song.

The Muscovites, a little scared at first, ended up getting up to applaud and sing with them.

It was very revealing of the bond they shared throughout their lives ”.


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