A prestigious culinary school's decision to close its student-run eatery The Escoffier Restaurant and rename it The Bocuse has foodies weighing in on the larger question of which modern-day chef has made the biggest impact in the 21st century.
In the food world, it's a move that's been described as akin to replacing the face of George Washington on the American dollar bill to current US president Barack Obama, points out foodie site Fine Dining Lovers, as the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York is effectively closing the door on Auguste Escoffier's legacy to replace it with Paul Bocuse. The CIA is the American equivalent in many ways to Le Cordon Bleu.
"Every century, thought leaders and innovators appear and have a profound impact on the advancement of their professions," said college president Tim Ryan. "Escoffier led that advance for the 20th Century and Chef Paul Bocuse for the 21st Century."
While Escoffier is known for popularizing French gastronomy and inventing the French brigade de cuisine system or the kitchen hierarchy, Bocuse, 86, is credited with championing the use of seasonal ingredients and making the chef the face of a restaurant.
After a 40-year run, The Escoffier Restaurant will reopen in 2013 as The Bocuse Restaurant and reflect the current popularity of molecular and scientific gastronomy, the institute says.
At a leadership event last year, the CIA named Bocuse Chef of the Century. The college has churned out celebrity chefs and personalities like Anthony Bourdain, Grant Achatz and Roy Yamaguchi.
Meanwhile, foodies have been weighing in on the announcement, throwing other names into the chef's hat, including Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, the father of molecular gastronomy, and US chef Alice Waters, who has also been a crusader for the use of seasonal and local ingredients.