La Purée de Joël Robuchon

[Joël Robuchon’s Mashed Potatoes]

My childhood memories of Joël Robuchon can be summed up in three words: cooking TV show. Back in the days, we had 5 channels on TV (well six but the last one, Canal +, was encrypted most of the time and you had to pay a special subscription to watch it). The most popular, to me at least, were channels 1 and 5, because those offered the best cartoon and anime line-ups (ask anybody born in the 80’s about the Club Dorothée and they’ll dream with nostalgia, I guarantee). Over the years, French national TV has changed a lot but one thing that hasn’t really changed is the programming schedule. Take Channel 1 (TF1) for instance: late mornings feature game shows, at 1pm you’ll have the news, followed by some TV series or soap operas, then more game shows in the late afternoon, and the evening news at 8pm and finally some kind of primetime evening show at 9pm, usually a movie or a talk show. It has been this way ever since I can remember, and I love it. I know exactly what to expect and I love the predictability, the sense of familiarity. Whenever I watch French TV, it really feels like home.

Around news time, there are often short 5-min interlude programs. In fact, Jean Dujardin, who won the latest Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in The Artist, became famous thanks to one of those short programs which aired right before the 8 o’clock news on France 2 (he anecdotally went on to marry his co-star Alexandra Lamy). I for one especially like the program that features eco-friendly homes from all over France. But I digress.  My point is, all I can remember of Joël Robuchon was that he appeared in one such program, on cooking obviously.

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