Sunday Reads: Why Joël Robuchon Really Is the World’s Top Chef

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With 26 Michelin Stars under his belt, Chef Joël Robuchon is at the pinnacle of the global cuisine game. In February, the 70-year-old chef will make a rare South Beach Wine & Food Festival appearance hosting a sold-out $1,500-a-seat dinner. Miamians wanting more of Robuchon are about to get it in the form of three restaurants: L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, La Boutique and Le Bar that will be opening in the Miami Design District by year’s end.

How did you get your start in the culinary industry?
Well you know, I began cooking not because of a love of cooking but because my parents told me that if I learned to cook, at least I would never go hungry! Growing up in post-war France, we did not have access to what a lot of families have today. I started cooking in a seminary, working with the nuns to prepare food for everyone there; this was by no means the type of cuisine that is now seen in my restaurants. I peeled potatoes, tomatoes, etc. but it was during this time that I learned that I wanted to cook – that I wanted to make something that could make people happy.

How did you decide upon the Design District for your restaurants?
The Design District neighborhood is full of life and creativity with art galleries, architectural and design firms, clothing stores, and of course, restaurants. It seemed to be the perfect location to put my Atelier de Joel Robuchon concept as well as my café, La Boutique.

How does this work well with l’Atelier’s sensibility?
I wanted to reinvent the idea of fine dining with L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon by putting the kitchen in the heart of the restaurant, surrounded by a counter, providing guests with a lively atmosphere and direct access to the creative process. I think this is in line with the atmosphere of the Design District.

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