The very sad news of the passing Roger Vergé has just reached us. He was 85 years old and passed away on Friday 6th June 2015.
Vergé was known as one of France’s greatest chefs, especially for his updating of Classic French Mediterranean Cooking which became known as Cuisine of the Sun.
Vergé was born in Commentry (Allier) in 1930, and gets his first taste of serious cuisine with his aunt Celestine. He then commenced working in his hometown at Alexis Chanier at Le Bourbonnais.
He then worked in larger establishments, La Tour d’Argent, and at the Plaza Athénée in Paris. Then he joined Le Club de Cavalière, Var, a restaurant with two Michelin stars. He also gained culinary experience even further afield in Morocco, Algeria and Kenya.
In 1974 Vergé established himself, and his restaurant Le Moulin de Mougins, which he and his wife Denise bought in 1969, as one of the unchallenged elite dining destinations in France when he won his third Michelin Star.
Roger Vergé’s Empire of the Sun duly on course it was in 1987 that he was awarded the rare honour of being made both a Maître Cuisinier de France and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
Roger Vergé as Author And Influencer of a Generation of Chefs
A prolific author of cookery books Vergé is perhaps best known for his work Ma Cuisine du Soleil (1978), translated as “Cuisine of the Sun” which quickly became one of the most sought after cookery titles among young chefs of that era, alongside publications from Paul Bocuse and Michel Guérard.
In addition to Ma Cuisine du Soleil Vergé also wrote and published further celebrated cookery books:
Les Fêtes de Mon Moulin (1993) published as “Entertaining in the French Style” in English.
Les Légumes de Mon Moulin (1994), translated as Roger Vergé’s Vegetables in the French Style
Les Tables de Mon Moulin (1998) published as “New Entertaining in the French Style” in English.
Les Fruits de Mon Moulin (1999), translated as Roger Vergé’s Cooking with Fruit
Many of the later giants of modern french cuisine owe Vergé a debt as both mentor and influencer with chefs such as:
David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, Jacques Chibois, Serge Chollet, Alain Ducasse, Denis Fétisson, Gilles Goujon, Hubert Keller, Patrick Lenôtre, Jacques Maximin, Lucia Pavin and Patrick Ponsaty, all passing through his kitchens.
Vergé stayed at the helm of the kitchens at Le Moulin de Mougins until his retirement in 2003 when he handed the reins of the kitchen to Alain Llorca, formerly of the Hotel Negresco in Nice. May he rest in peace.
Photo by Silverman68