Top Paris chef takes reins at La Grande Maison

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French culinary favourite Pierre Gagnaire is to take over from the world’s most Michelin starred chef Joel Robuchon at the luxury hotel and restaurant La Grande Maison in Bordeaux, wine magnate Bernard Magrez said on Thursday.

Gagnaire’s appointment comes just two weeks after a surprise announcement by Magrez that he and Robuchon, 71, were ending their collaboration at the opulent establishment in southwestern France.

Magrez chose Robuchon to take the helm at the eaterie — housed in a 19th century mansion — when it opened in December 2014 and it duly picked up two Michelin stars in early 2016.

But the pair were going their separate ways, Magrez said in a statement on April 15, amid “a difficult economic environment with a slow down in tourism linked to the 2015 (Paris) attacks”.

Following in Robuchon’s footsteps will be the 66-year-old Gagnaire, the owner and head chef of his three-starred Pierre Gagnaire restaurant near Paris’s Champs-Elysees.

“When it came to finding a new chef for La Grande Maison… the name of Pierre Gagnaire became an obvious one,” Magrez said in a statement.

Gagnaire told AFP he was “surprised” and “honoured” to be chosen, pledging to “understand the city, to pay hommage to the local producers, without forgetting the nearby Spanish gastronomic culture”.

Robuchon’s high-priced eateries around the world have collectively earned him more Michelin stars than any other chef.

A pioneer of molecular gastronomy, he at one point in his career had 28.

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