’Pope’ of French cuisine Paul Bocuse dies age 91

In this file photo, French chef Paul Bocuse tastes a dish during the “Bocuse d’Or” (Golden Bocuse) trophy, at the 14th World Cuisine contest, in Lyon, central France on Jan. 29 2013. (AP)
Updated 20 January 2018
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’Pope’ of French cuisine Paul Bocuse dies age 91

PARIS: Paul Bocuse, one of the greatest French chefs of all time, has died aged 91, the country’s interior minister said on Saturday.
Dubbed the “pope” of French cuisine, Bocuse helped shake up the food world in the 1970s with the Nouvelle Cuisine revolution and created the idea of the celebrity chef.
“Monsieur Paul was France. The pope of gourmets has left us,” tweeted Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, announcing the chef’s death after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
“He was one of the greatest figures of French gastronomy, the General Charles de Gaulle of cuisine,” said French food critic Francois Simon, comparing him to France’s wartime savior and dominant postwar leader.
A giant in a nation that prides itself as the beating heart of gastronomy, Bocuse was France’s only chef to keep the Michelin food bible’s coveted three-star rating through more than four decades.
The heart of his empire, L’Auberge de Collonges au Mont D’Or, his father’s village inn near Lyon in food-obsessed southeastern France, earned three stars in 1965, and never lost a single one.
“Monsieur Paul,” as he was known, was named “chef of the century” by Michelin’s rival guide, the Gault-Millau in 1989, and again by The Culinary Institute of America in 2011.”
Born in 1926 to a family of cooks since 1765, Bocuse began his apprenticeship at the age of 16 and came to epitomise a certain type of French epicurean — a lover of fine wine, food and women.
A great upholder of tradition as well as an innovator, several of his trademark dishes at the Auberge remained unchanged for decades, such as the bass in a pastry crust or the black truffle soup he created for French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing in 1975, who named him a commander in the Legion of Honour.
He slept in the same room where he was born, and managed to maintain a relationship with his wife Raymonde and at least two lovers.
“I love women and we live too long these days to spend one’s entire life with just one,” Bocuse told the Daily Telegraph in 2005.
Together with the Gault-Millau guide, Bocuse became a driving force behind the Nouvelle Cuisine, sweeping away the rich and heavy sauces of yesteryear in favor of super-fresh ingredients and sleek aesthetics.
Bocuse reportedly claimed the term was invented by Gault-Millau to describe food he helped prepare for the maiden flight of the Concorde airliner in 1969.
Slashing cooking times, paring down menus and paying new attention to health, Nouvelle Cuisine was a craze that fizzled out but left a lasting legacy.
“It was a real revolution,” said Simon. “They coined a concept that came at exactly the right moment — at a time when gastronomy was a bit dull and heavy, with thick sauces, not sexy at all.”
In 2007, more than 80 top chefs flew to France from around the world to celebrate his 81st birthday and his legacy.


The Royal Wedding’s ‘zaghrata’ mystery — who was ‘ululating’ as Harry and Meghan left the chapel?

Updated 21 May 2018
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The Royal Wedding’s ‘zaghrata’ mystery — who was ‘ululating’ as Harry and Meghan left the chapel?

LONDON: As the dust settles on the weekend’s royal wedding extravaganza, Arab interest has switched from speculation over Meghan Markle’s dress to a more pressing mystery — who was ululating as the couple emerged from the chapel?
The high-pitched celebratory noise traditionally reserved for major celebrations in the Middle East were clearly audible as the newly weds paused at the top of the steps outside St. George’s Chapel in Windsor on Saturday. They again rang out as the couple descended the steps into the sunshine and the welcoming embrace of the crowds.
Was there an Arab guest in the crowd expressing their excitement for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their own inimitable fashion?
The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office tweeted a video on their Arabic account of the supposed ululations, saying: “Maybe you can hear the ‘Zaghrata’ at the moment Harry and Meghan leave the church after the wedding?”


Zaghrata is a form of ululation practiced in the region.
Rima Maktabi - London bureau chief at the Al Arabiya News Channel, who was covering the wedding - told Arab News: “I heard it first when Harry went into the church and then when Meghan went inside, I didn’t understand what it was.
“The commentators were saying that they heard ‘international sounds’, and then as they came out, it was clear.”
However, the Arab claim to be the source of ululation is facing a challenge from a grandmother from Lesotho who told British media that Harry had pointed out to her and smiled as she made the noise.
Malineo Motsephe, 70, traveled from the African nation for the wedding, having met Harry through her work with one of his charities.
Ululating, it turns out, is as common a cultural phenomenon in parts of Africa as it is in the Arab world.