The Latest: French chef Ducasse toasts 'colleague' Robuchon

FILE - In this Sept.7, 2014 file photo, French chef Joel Robuchon, left, poses for photographers with French chef Alain Ducasse during a photocall for the movie "The Hundred-Foot Journey", in Paris, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. French master chef Joel Robuchon has died at the age of 73. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

Alain Ducasse says French cuisine has maintained an international reputation for greatness due in part to fellow chef and "colleague" Joel Robuchon

PARIS — The Latest on the death of master French chef Joel Robuchon (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

Alain Ducasse says French cuisine has maintained an international reputation for greatness due in part to fellow chef and "colleague" Joel Robuchon.

Ducasse was seen by some as a rival to Robuchon, whose death at age 73 was announced Monday. He succeeded Robuchon at a chic Paris eatery located at 59 avenue Raymond Poincare in 1996.

The Michelin-starred French chef said in a statement to The Associated Press that "French cuisine owes a tribute to a man who for more than 40 years has made it shine throughout the world."

The 61-year-old Ducasse described Robuchon as "a demanding colleague, but this nature was ultimately the solid foundation of our esteem."

Ducasse said Robuchon "marked French haute cuisine with his fingerprint. He did it always following his own path, a mixture of freedom and rigor."

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4:45 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron has paid homage to Joel Robuchon, saying the late French chef's "32 Michelin stars shine bright in the constellation of French gastronomy."

Macron said Monday in a statement that Robuchon's "name and style embody French cuisine all over the world...and project the richness of our traditions."

He described Robuchon's "rise to the top of world gastronomy" as "dazzling."

Noting that Michelin-starred Lyon chef Paul Bocuse died in January, Macron said: "French gastronomy is mourning painfully this year, but it is alive with the vibrant legacy of its great chefs."

Robuchon died in Geneva at age 73.

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3:10 p.m.

Parisians are expressing their sadness at the death of French chef Joel Robuchon as they pass by one of his restaurants in the French capital, L'Atelier Saint-Germain.

Thais Borst, who lives in the neighborhood, said Monday that "I pass by here every day and it's a wish to be able to go in one day."

She stressed that Robuchon "represents France, the diversity (of food) and the originality, the good taste. I think that many French people are dreaming to go one day to a Joel Robuchon (restaurant)."

Parisian Francoise Rocard said of Robuchon "he's a grand chef." She noted that he was the second top French who died recently, after Lyon's Paul Bocuse. She says "we are losing great men in gastronomy, but there will be others, we've got to hope that the youth will follow their path."

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2:40 p.m.

Some of France's greatest chefs are paying tribute to fellow master Joel Robuchon, who died at 73.

French chef Marc Veyrat, whose restaurant holds three stars from the Michelin guide, said "he was someone I love, formidable, extraordinary." He called Robuchon the "prince of French cuisine" on RTL radio, adding "I'm not afraid to say he inspired me."

French chef Pierre Gagnaire, also a Michelin three-star chef, wrote on his Instagram account that "the best among us is gone. All my thoughts to his family."

The chef of the Elysee presidential palace, Guillaume Gomez, twitted that Robuchon was "the greatest technician French cuisine ever had. An example for generations of chefs."

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12 noon

Joel Robuchon, a master chef who shook up the stuffy world of French haute cuisine by wowing palates with the delights of the simple mashed potato and giving diners a peek at the kitchen, has died at 73. 

His career was one of superlatives: Named among the best craftsmen in France in 1976, crowned cook of the century in 1990, chosen to be one of the cooks at the "dinner of the century," and, for years, holder of the most Michelin stars in the world.

A spokeswoman for Robuchon confirmed his death, with French TV station BFM and newspaper Le Figaro reporting that he died Monday in Geneva from cancer.

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12 noon

Joel Robuchon was known for his constant innovation and even playfulness in the kitchen — a revelation to the hidebound world of French cuisine. He built an empire of gourmet restaurants across the world —from Paris to Tokyo, Las Vegas and New York City.

"To describe Joel Robuchon as a cook is a bit like calling Pablo Picasso a painter, Luciano Pavarotti a singer, Frederic Chopin a pianist," Patricia Wells, a cook and food writer, wrote her her book "L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon."

Wells says "Joel Robuchon will undoubtedly go down as the artist who most influenced the 20th-century world of cuisine."

While Robuchon was no stranger to the fancy — truffles and caviar were among his favorites — his food was often described as simple because he preached the use of only three or four ingredients in most dishes.

He started a revolution with his "Atelier" (workshop in French) business model: small, intimate restaurants where diners sat at a counter surrounding the kitchen. They didn't take reservations and many didn't even have tables.

But Michelin, and just about everyone else, gobbled it up. And thanks to Ateliers around the world, Robuchon reached a total of 32 Michelin stars in 2016 — a record — and still held 31 stars this year, including five three-star restaurants.

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