Legendary French Chef Paul Bocuse Hospitalized



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The 87-year-old icon of nouvelle cuisine is reportedly not in critical condition

Learn more about esteemed chef Paul Bocuse's condition.

The influential Burgundian chef Paul Bocuse was hospitalized early last week in Lyon. One of the founders of France's revolutionary late-20th-century "nouvelle cuisine" — he claimed that the term was first used to describe a meal he and some colleagues created for the maiden flight of the Concorde in 1969, though it didn't take hold until four or five years later —Bocuse has long since ceased being "relevant" in the culinary world, but he remains enormously respected, and is sometimes called "the Pope of French gastronomy."

Bocuse has suffered for some years from Parkinson's disease, but was admitted to the hospital for severe back pain, which has caused him to walk with crutches for the past three months. A hospital spokesman has said that Bocuse is lucid and not considered to be in critical condition.

The famed chef, who will be 88 on Feb. 11, was hospitalized around the same time last year with a severe cold, but rallied quickly enough to preside over that year's Bocuse d'Or, an international culinary competition held biennually in Lyon, and to attend the opening of the Bocuse Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., the following month.


Legendary French Chef Paul Bocuse Has Died

Legendary French chef Paul Bocuse has passed away at the age of 91, his family announced on Saturday.

One of the culinary world's most influential figures, Bocuse is most known for being a pioneer of nouvelle cuisine, a movement that emphasizes the quality of ingredients with a focus on presentation and a mastery of technique. His three-Michelin-star restaurant, L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges, has held the distinction for nearly 50 years, while Bocuse himself was named Chef of the Century by the Culinary Institute of America. He was also the founder and namesake of the Bocuse d'Or, the food world's most prestigious cooking competition.

Bocuse spent the later years of his life battling Parkinson's disease according to The Guardian , he died in the very same home he was born in, which he had previously turned into L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges.

"Today French gastronomy has lost a legendary figure who transformed it profoundly," French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement. "Chefs are crying in their kitchens at the Elysée and everywhere in France. But they will carry on his work."

Since the announcement of Bocuse's death, the world's top chefs have been posting tributes in honor of the man who defined much of fine cooking as we know it today.


Chefs Take to Social Media to Mourn Legendary Chef Paul Bocuse

Legendary French chef Paul Bocuse died Saturday, January 20 at the age of 91. Bocuse is largely credited with popularizing nouvelle cuisine, the now-ubiquitous style of cooking characterized by careful presentation, light sauces, and fresh produce. Bocuse rose to international prominence in the 1970s, and his influence spans decades he is also considered one of the first celebrity chefs.

Since the French Interior Minister announced the news Saturday, Bocuse’s acolytes and admirers have shared their memories of the chef on social media. The giant of modern cuisine that he was, Bocuse influenced many of today’s biggest-name chefs, including Emeril Lagasse, Daniel Boulud, and Thomas Keller, just to name a few. Over the weekend, many shared photos from various points in Bocuse’s storied career in their social media eulogies.

Rest In Peace. The great chef paul bocuse. In 1986

Posted by David Burke on Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sunday Dinner: Revisiting Chef Paul Bocuse's classic tournedos forestiere

Legendary French chef Paul Bocuse died Jan. 20. He was 91 and will long be remembered for not only serving spectacular French cuisine in his restaurants, but for inspiring others around the world to cook it, including me.

When I was in my early 20s, I was training to be a chef and a large part of the curriculum was learning classic French cooking techniques.

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To enhance what I was learning at school, I decided it would be wise to buy some good French culinary reference books and cookbooks.

Most students back then knew all about Paul Bocuse and were awed by his skill and stature in the food world.

A cookbook penned by him seemed like a logical one for me to buy so, 30-plus years ago, I purchased Paul Bocuse’s French Cooking, first published in English in 1977.

One thing I liked about that 518-page hardcover book was that it offered recipes for some of Bocuse’s most famous dishes, such as la soupe aux truffes Elysée (truffle soup) and loup de la Mediterranée en croute (sea bass in puff pastry) — inspired creations that inspired me to try to create my own dishes that would make diners happy every time they were served.

But as a young chef, before I could do that with any prowess, I needed to refine my cooking skills and Bocuse’s book helped me with that.

His recipes are all about using the proper technique and offer practical tips to ensure the dish turns out the way it should.

For example, in a recipe for breaded lamb chops, he says to make sure you cook them slowly, so that browning of the bread crumbs and cooking of the thick chops are completed at the same time.

Another thing I like about many of Bocuse’s recipes is that ingredient lists are often fairly short. That showcases his desire to use a few quality ingredients and not mask their fine flavour by adding too many other tastes, something young chefs — and even old ones — tend to want to do to prove how creative they are.

A recipe for tournedos forestière in Paul Bocuse’s French Cooking is an example of keeping the ingredient list simple. Tournedos — small beef tenderloin steaks — are seared, set on round croutons, topped with a simple sauce made from veal stock and accompanied with an assortment of sautéed mushrooms. The only seasoning is salt and pepper.

I decided to make the dish and enjoyed it with my wife, also a trained chef. Before digging in, we made a toast to Paul Bocuse for inspiring us to cook better.

It was very a tasty meal with rich-tasting beef, a simple but rich sauce and a flavourful array of almost smoky-tasting seared mushrooms. We quickly understood why Bocuse kept the seasoning simple.

That said, there was one other key ingredient that I haven’t mentioned yet: butter.

Paul Bocuse called it his favourite ingredient, which is on full display in his recipe for tournedos forestière. Butter is generously used in all aspects of that recipe, from the browning of the croutons to the flavouring of the mushrooms and searing of the meat. It’s even added to the simmering stock poured over it. No wonder is tasted so good!

Tournedos Forestière

This is my adapted version of Paul Bocuse’s recipe for this dish. I wanted it to serve two, I did not have veal stock and I could not find the fresh types of mushroom his recipe called for, so I adjusted things a bit.

To make the recipe, small, tender steaks are deeply seared until succulent, then set on croutons and topped with a rich, but simple sauce and accented with mushrooms cooked until golden in butter.

Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus mushroom soaking time

Cooking time: About 25 minutes

Makes: Two servings

1(14 gram) pkg. sliced dried mixed mushrooms (see Note)

4 (3/4-inch thick) slices of French bread, cut into crustless rounds about the same diameter as the steaks

4 small (each about 90 grams), 1 1/4- inch thick beef tenderloin steaks

• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil (divided)

1/3 lb assorted fresh mushrooms, sliced (see Note)

2 tsp chopped freshly parsley

Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with the 1 cup warm water. Let mushrooms soak 90 minutes, until plumped up and reconstituted. Drain the mushrooms well, then dry on paper towel.

Place 2 Tbsp of the butter in a nine or 10-inch skillet set over medium heat. When butter is melted, add the bread rounds and cook until toasted and golden on all sides. Set these croutons on a plate.

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp of the oil in a clean nine- or 10-inch skillet set over medium-high. When oil is smoking, add the fresh and dried mushrooms and season with salt.

Cook mushrooms, stirring frequently, five minutes, until tender. Spoon mushrooms into a shallow bowl. Set the skillet you cooked the mushrooms in aside for now.

Preheat oven to 200 F. Place 1 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter in another nine- or 10-inch skillet set over medium-high heat.

When butter is melted and skillet is very hot, add the steaks, cover and cook three minutes. Turn each steak over with a spatula and season with salt and pepper.

Cover and cook steaks on the other side two to three minutes, or until about rare to medium-rare. Set steaks on a plate and keep warm in the oven.

Remove fat from the skillet the steaks were cooked in. Now add the stock to the pan, bring to a simmer and reduce by half.

While that occurs, set the pan the mushroom were cooked in over medium-high heat and add 1 1/2 Tbsp butter.

When butter is sizzling, put the mushrooms back in the pan and cook until lightly browned. Remove pan from the heat.

When stock has reduced by half, remove pan from the heat, then whisk in the remaining 1/2 Tbsp butter, creating a sauce.

To serve, set two croutons on each of two heated plates. Top each crouton with a steak. Now set some mushrooms around each steak. Spoon sauce over each steak, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Note: Dried mixed mushrooms are sold in small bags in the produce department of many supermarkets (see Eric’s options). I used Champ’s Mushrooms brand and it contained an exotic mix of mushrooms, such as lobster and chanterelle.

For interest, use a mix of at least two different types of fresh mushrooms in this recipe. I used brown (cremini) and shiitake mushrooms. Before slicing the caps of shiitake mushrooms, remove and discard or compost the tough stems.

Eric’s options: If you can’t find dried mushrooms or prefer just to use fresh, omit the dried ones from the recipe and double the amount of fresh mushrooms used.

Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.


Paul Bocuse: legendary chef of chefs

PARIS &mdash Paul Bocuse, who died on Saturday aged 91, combined a passion for food and women with a nose for self-publicity that brought him fame and fortune far beyond his native France.

Decades before the era of the foodie and celebrity TV chef, Bocuse enjoyed rock star status among the world's culinary cognescenti and started restaurants from Tokyo to New York.

"Paul Bocuse was the incarnation of French cuisine," French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement.

L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges near Lyon, originally the restaurant of his father, was the nerve-centre of his culinary empire, comprising 21 restaurants with annual sales of more than 50 million euros ($61 million), according to French business magazine Challenges.

Already well-known for the menu of the maiden flight of the Concorde airliner in 1969, Bocuse's flair for showmanship led him to ask President Valery Giscard D'Estaing to allow him to prepare his own banquet at the Elysee Palace when he won France's highest honour, the Legion d'Honneur, in 1975.

In Tokyo (along with New York) one of the centres of his expansion, he was said to be the best-known Frenchman after hearthrob actor Alain Delon in his heyday.

He was also a mentor to young chefs and a passionate promoter of his trade. In 1987 he launched the Bocuse d'Or, pitting 24 chefs from across the world against each other in what continues to be the world's most prestigious cooking competition.

International chef Daniel Boulud, one of those who worked under Bocuse, told the Wall Street Journal in 2011: "After over 40 years of cooking, I am as impressed by him today as I was when I first met him as a 14-year-old apprentice trailing after him in the markets of Lyon. I have been continually inspired by his mission to support French cuisine."

Bocuse was widely credited as a founder of French "nouvelle cuisine" - a more delicate style of cooking that relied less on heavy sauces. But he himself shunned the label, maintaining that above all, meals should be "an uninhibited pleasure" and not encumbered by concerns about good health or weight loss.

The legendary black truffle soup he made for Giscard D'Estaing, still served at his restaurants, is enduring testimony to recipes far richer than those with which the 'nouvelle' label came to be equated.

Deceptively light and free of cream, the soup's fresh raw truffles, foie gras, butter-drenched mushrooms, carrots, celery and onion are all bathed in a poultry broth and entombed in a pot-belly bowl under a lid of golden, flaky pastry.

"Chef of the century"

Variously accused of intolerable arrogance, an undignified passion for self-promotion and of spending more time in jets than kitchens, he was nonetheless credited with restoring not only the prestige of French haute cuisine but the status of his profession.

In a tribute to his longevity, he was crowned "chef of the century" by the Gault et Millau French gourmet dining guide and likewise in 2011 by the premier U.S. cooking academy, the Culinary Institute of America, in 2011.

Born on Feb. 11, 1926, at Collonges-du-Mont-d'Or, near Lyon, in southeast France, where his forebears had been restaurateurs for generations, Bocuse's education was ended abruptly by World War Two, when he left school to join the resistance movement.

L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges acquired its first Michelin star in 1961 when he was helping his father build up the business, and after his father's death he took it to the top three-star status in 1965.

From there he expanded with restaurants in Tokyo, Singapore, New York and Florida, as well as in France, and in 1990 launched a schooling network for top chefs.

Three women have been willing overlapping partners in Bocuse's life.

Childhood sweetheart Raymonde, whom he met at 16 and with whom he had a daughter, Francoise, was his wife of nearly 60 years. He had a son, Jerome, who now works for the American side of the Bocuse business, with his first mistress, Raymone, in 1969. And he launched a Bocuse-brand products business in the 1970s with his second mistress Patricia.

In a book published in 2006 shortly after yet another heart operation, Bocuse was quoted as summing up: "I have three stars. I have had three bypasses. And I still have three women." &mdash Reuters


One of the pioneers of modern gastronomy, along with his brother Jean, Pierre turned La Maison Troisgros into the insitution that brought us the famous 'Salmon and Sorrel' dish - turning a new corner by breaking the mould of traditional French cuisine.

Born on September 3rd 1928, Pierre joined the restaurant, set in L'Hôtel Moderne in Roanne, in the 1950s, working with his father Jean-Baptiste and his brother. The family business earned a Michelin star in 1955, a second in 1965, and a third in 1968.

Jean died suddenly in 1983, at which point Pierre's son, Michel, joined him in the kitchen. Michel and his son César now run the business, which moved to a remove location outside of Roanne in 2017. The restaurant featured in the Netflix series Chef's Table in 2018.

In a statement given to AFP, A person close to the family said: "Pierre Troisgros has died in his home near Coteau. His son Michel and his wife are now on location, and in a state of disbelief."

The team at Paul Bocuse's two Michelin-starred restaurant - another French culinary legend, who sadly passed away two years ago, aged 91 - Tweeted their condolences, saying "the team has a heavy heart tonight as we heard the news that chef Pierre Troisgros passed away, having been a companion and an exemplary friend of Paul's for 70 years.

"We extend our condolences to the whole Troisgros family as well as to his loved ones."

Gwendal Poullenec, Michelin's international director, also issued a statement, in which he said: "The Michelin Guide inspectors and I have just learned with great sadness of the passing of Pierre Troisgros at the age of 92.

"An emblematic figure of the great French cuisine, Pierre Troigros was one of those chefs whose name has become an international reference in gastronomy.

"A precursor of Nouvelle Cuisine, Pierre Troigros took over the reins of the family establishment in Roanne in 1954 with his brother Jean. The restaurant has shone for 52 years with three stars in the MICHELIN Guide.

"Within this house, Pierre embodied the transmission and innovation that has always permeated the kitchens of the establishment.

My most sincere and affectionate thoughts go out to the teams and to the family of Pierre Troisgros, especially his son Michel and grandsons César and Léo who, at the head of the restaurant, are now working to cultivate an incredibly rich heritage".

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Fairytale of New York

Boulud lives on top of his restaurant, Daniel, in New York. His office, called the skybox, is a glass enclosed den overlooking the kitchen. “As in the old French tradition, I still live above the shop so I included a section in the book on how I cook at home,” he says.

Boulud’s restaurant empire is undergoing expansion with a Daniel Boulud Brasserie – “white tablecloth casual dining” – as he describes it, opening in Las Vegas in June in a joint partnership with The Venetian. “We already have a partnership with The Venetian in Singapore,” he adds.

A new Daniel Boulud Bar and Brasserie will open in Washington DC this year, as well as a Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Boston. “In New York, we own and operate all the restaurants and the catering business, Feast & Fêtes,” he explains. “Outside New York we work with partners such as Mandarin, Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons.”

In New York, Boulud’s establishments range from Daniel, the three-Michelin-star restaurant the one-Michelin-star Café Boulud Boulud Sud, a Mediterranean-themed restaurant to Epicerie Boulud, an eat-in-and-take-out market and café with a charcuterie, boulangerie, and oyster bar. He talks enthusiastically about this concept and has plans to open more across New York City.

“It’s basically a food store that I enjoy,” he says. “We make pickled vegetables, bread… One of our specialities is the classic Vietnamese Bánh Mi bread – I’ve tasted some great versions, but ours is unique. We also offer one pot meals, such as chicken casserole, so people can take home and enjoy a meal they didn’t have to go to the time and trouble to prepare, at the fraction of the cost of sitting in a restaurant.”

He is keen to encourage and nurture young people. Out of 800 employees in New York (including 200 chefs) over half are aged 25, on average. All his chefs have access to a private database of recipes where the menus of all the restaurants are held, which they can use as inspiration “and make their own adaptation,” adds Boulud.

Apart from his culinary enterprises, Boulud was recently named co-president of Citymeals-on-Wheels. He has been working with the New York charity for 25 years, which provides meals for elderly people. Boulud organises an annual fundraising gala in aid of the charity, but for the 20th anniversary of Daniel, 20 chefs, Boulud’s alumni, cooked the gala meal with him. He plans to invite 50 chefs to lunch to discuss a new initiative, where every chef cooks 500 meals once a year to be delivered to elderly people in a particular neighbourhood.


In an era of ingredient-driven cooking, Paul Bocuse was the high priest of technique

It’s a message that sounds familiar to anyone who has digested the farm-to-table ethos of the last two decades of popular cooking. Certainly it’s one that resonated as I walked through the Union Square farmer’s market in New York City last summer. “This is place to be,” I thought, as bits of my favorite chefs’ YouTube videos replayed in my head.

Each of these chefs had sauntered through a similar farmer’s market, bartering with farmers and stashing esoteric root vegetables in their tote bags, then turned to the camera with the same message: Simply buy the best ingredients you can. These gorgeous ingredients, they assured me, will basically assemble themselves—the product of good agriculture, needing just a little coaxing, some confidence, and maybe a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil to display their complexity on a gleaming white plate.

Anyone can do this, they assured me—even you, a kitchen newbie. But what of technique? As I walked through the booths, I spent more time trying to figure out how to cut a black turnip than considering how its flavor profile would compliment the microgreens I had seen next door.

Bocuse, for all his reverence for ingredients, literally wrote the book on technique. The pendulum of fashionable cooking has swung wildly from when Paul Bocuse cooked up his first veal kidneys with pureed potatoes in 1934, pioneering a fresh, refined take on classic French technique that became known as “nouvelle cuisine” (though he later rejected the label). He was an innovator, but he also stayed true to a tradition where the techniques used to prepare food were essentially the recipes. Food was good because a chef made it so. The finesse and knowledge required to poach a chicken in a pig’s bladder or cook a sea bass in pastry can’t simply be plucked from the ground.

In the 1990s and 2000s, the rise of chefs such as Berkeley, California’s Alice Waters and London’s Fergus Henderson emphasized provenance above all, naming local farmers and foragers on menus, and touting respect for the ingredient and nose-to-tail butchery. Today’s chefs are more likely to emulate Norway’s Magnus Nilsson, an ingredient-first chef who goes to extremes like harvesting and preparing endives by blacklight, than the techniques of a classic French master.

Of course, Nilsson’s tech-enabled, science-informed approach also involves technique, but it’s one that has little to do with the knife skills or master sauces that are rigorously tested at the Bocuse d’Or—the culinary competition named for Paul Bocuse that is considered the “Olympics of cooking.”

Part of what made Bocuse such a force of culinary change was his ability to take that classic technique and apply it with great restraint and minimal fuss. For all its lavishness, Bocuse’s bladder-poached and truffled chicken is served simply—as he said, given “that which is its due, and nothing more.” When he first made his name, Bocuse was known for extending the legacy of Fernand Point, who bucked many of the French culinary norms to focus on the ingredients.

As I’ve become a (slightly) more experienced cook, I’m finding myself craving technique—as well as carefully sourced and prepared ingredients. Even the considered processes proposed by Samin Nosrats’ Salt Fat Acid Heat leave me with a plate filled with separate piles of protein, vegetable and starch. Well-seasoned and perfectly cooked as they may be, they seem to have little relationship to each other.

I have not consciously imitated Bocuse’s journey, but I’m beginning to understand how ingredients can serve ideas, rather than the other way around. The French mother sauces rarely make appearances on online cooking videos, but after picking up James Peterson’s Sauces in an unconscious regression a few weeks ago, I’m realizing their beguiling powers.

The great French chef, rooster-tatooed and powerful enough in France to be immune to parking tickets, is dead, but the idea that technique is essential to truly innovative cooking is not. For me, at least, that means I’ll be spending more time in the kitchen, and less time worshipping microgreens.


Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes: the birthplace of Nouvelle Cuisine

“Without butter, without eggs, there is no reason to come to France,” legendary French chef Paul Bocuse once said, deftly capturing the national passion for food and the best ingredients. This Lyon-based game-changer introduced the concept of ‘nouvelle cuisine’ and kept the city firmly at the world’s gastronomic epicentre.

He’s no longer with us, but his influence can be felt across Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and beyond. Bocuse, along with a long list of great chefs and wonderful produce, makes this region a truly invigorating place for a gastronomic expedition.

From hearty and filling to the height of fine dining, with an astounding 93 Michelin-starred chefs working their magic with Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes’ local produce, you can expect some surprises. But what’s in the region’s larder?

Many credit superstar chef Paul Bocuse for putting Lyon on the gourmet map. IMAGE © FLICKR, AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES TOURISME, ALAMY

There are succulent Ardèche chestnuts (used to make marrons glacés, crème de marron and ground into chestnut flour for bread, cakes and biscuits), Grenoble walnuts (the first AOC certified nut and used in walnut wine), Nyons olives, Puy lentils and Fin Gras beef from Mézenc. Not forgetting a fine vintage from the wine cellar – an easy-drinking Beaujolais perhaps, a Côtes du Rhône or maybe a crisp white Savoie?

In 2016, the Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes were merged to create a new super region, bringing together the départements of Allier, Puy-de-Dôme, Cantal, Haute-Loire, Ardèche, Loire, Rhône, Ain, Isère, Drôme, Savoie and Haute-Savoie, covering almost 70,000km2!

It’s a land of wild, rugged panoramas, mountain peaks, lush countryside, vineyards galore, ski slopes, fields of lavender – and volcanos. By anyone’s standards, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is a varied and exciting place to be. The foodie figures are breathtaking too: 10 wine areas with 43 AOPs, 79 PDO regional products and 21 AOC cheeses (the most of any region in France).

Turning the hefty wheels of Salers cheese in Cantal is no easy task but it’s essential to the maturing process. IMAGE © FLICKR, AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES TOURSIME, ALAMY

In fact, cheese is at the heart of much of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes’ flavourful, comforting staples and its cheeseboard positively groans under the weight of what amounts to 46 per cent of the country’s PDO cheeses – that’s almost one in two…

Among the names you might recognise are Reblochon, a strong Alpine cheese that gives tartiflette its flavour Beaufort, firm and not unlike Gruyère Saint-Nectaire, creamy, nutty and semi-soft Cantal, a firm cheese and one of the oldest in France Bleu d’Auvergne, rich, tangy and great with Port Tomme, which you’ll come across in truffade Abondance, Picodon, Fourme d’Ambert – the list goes on…

F IS FOR FROMAGE

A round-up like this might seem daunting. With so much of the stinky stuff to get to know, it might be time to hit the Route des Fromages d’Auvergne and test drive your favourites.

Visit www.auvergne-tourism.com to formulate your cheesy plan of action. Or make a beeline for one of the many annual cheese festivals: Saint-Nectaire in Puy-de-Dôme in May the Fête des Fromages de Savoie in July and the Fête du Bleu d’Auvergne in Riom-ès-Montagnes, Cantal, in August.

To go with your cheese, you’ll need a glass of wine. Happily, this region has ten wine areas – the three best-known ones are Beaujolais, Rhône Valley and Savoie. With 5,200 winegrowers and 400 wine cellars open for dégustations, it is truly a wine lover’s paradise.

If you’re not sure where to start, book an organised wine tour, follow one of the wine routes such as the Route des Vins du Beaujolais (which straddles Rhône-Alpes and Burgundy), or visit a wine festival such as the annual Salon des Vins des Côtes du Rhône Septentrionales in Tain l’Hermitage, Drôme, in February.

  • From Salers and Cantal to Bleu d’Auvergne, the region has cheese to suit all palates.IMAGE © FLICKR, AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES TOURISME, ALAMY
  • The Fête de l’Estivein Cantal is quite the foodie affair.IMAGE © FLICKR, AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES TOURISME, ALAMY

The Beaujolais vineyards can be found just north of Lyon. This light, unpretentious red made using Gamay Noir grapes is sometimes drunk very young (think Beaujolais Nouveau day). It can be quite tart, with lovely flavours of raspberry, cherry and cranberry coming through.

The biggest appellation Beaujolais AOC are easy-drinkers: fruity, light and great with lunch, while at the pricier end, the Beaujolais crus deliver more complex flavours. Try ‘the King of Beaujolais’, Moulin-à-Vent, with its plum and cherry aromas. Also worth seeking out is Côte de Brouilly – bright with a delicate mineral flavour. For tastings, visit Château de La Chaize in Odenas.

The famous Rhône Valley vineyards lie within the region, so make sure you include the local wines on your tasting list too. The most notable of the northern Rhône wines are Côte-Rôtie AOC – pricey, but with a wonderful raspberry flavour and hints of truffle and chocolate.

For tastings, try winemaker Stéphane Ogier’s wine cellars. In the southern Rhône, the sunnier climate gives the wines a warmer character. The main grape variety here is Grenache, with Côtes du Rhône (including rich reds, gorgeous whites and rosés to enjoy in the garden on a sunny day) being the largest AOC.

Bugnes, light fritters, are commonly eaten during Mardi Gras. IMAGE © BŁAŻEJ PIECZYŃSKI, AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES TOURSIME, ALAMY, FOTOLIA, GUILLAUME BAVIERE

Hidden gem Vinsobres AOC is a delicious red, with complex, peppery, blackcurrant flavours. Try La Vinsobraise in the Drôme for a tasting. Savoie wines are relatively unknown and almost 70 per cent of them are white.

There are just three appellations: Vin de Savoie AOC includes 16 crus from crisp, light whites such as Apremont, Chignin and Crépy, to reds such as Jongieux. Other appellations include Rousette de Savoie and Seyssel, plus a very pleasant Crémant de Savoie. Vermouth is also made in Savoie – Dolin and Routin are well-known locally-made brands.

If you only have limited time for your gastronomic tour of the region, make straight for Lyon. France’s beautiful, dynamic second city – with its UNESCO-listed architecture, and strategic location at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône – was an important centre of the silk-weaving industry. It has also been the biggest gastronomic destination in France ever since food critic Curnonsky described it as the “world capital of gastronomy” in the 1930s and it’s easy to see why.

  • Quenelles are creamed fish, shaped, poached and slathered in a rich sauce.IMAGE © BŁAŻEJ PIECZYŃSKI, AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES TOURSIME, ALAMY, FOTOLIA, GUILLAUME BAVIERE
  • Tuck into the region’s indulgent fare.IMAGE © BŁAŻEJ PIECZYŃSKI, AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES TOURSIME, ALAMY, FOTOLIA, GUILLAUME BAVIERE

It’s surrounded by a ready supply of great produce – fruit and vegetables from local farms, fresh fish from Savoie’s lakes, pork from Monts du Lyonnais, beef from Cantal, and a huge array of cheeses and wines.

The produce markets in Lyon are second to none, from the famous Les Halles Paul Bocuse (renamed in the chef’s honour) to great outdoor markets. There are specialist food shops galore too. For top-quality hams and sausages, try Charcuterie Sibilia Fromagerie Galland has an extensive range of local cheeses or pop into luxury chocolatier Bernachon for choccies to die for.

THE LYON’S SHARE

Lyon also has more than 1,500 wonderful restaurants to choose from. One of the best is three-starred L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, formerly presided over by superstar chef Paul Bocuse.

The city is also famous for its bouchons – a unique type of bistro. The history of these small family-run businesses is entwined with the city’s industrial heritage. Make sure you include at least one on your list of places to visit. You’ll also find other restaurant networks in Lyon and throughout the region, including Beaujolais Bistros (which has its own app) and village-based Bistrots de Pays.

Nuts, cheese galore, charcuterie, juicy fruit… the region is an epicurean paradise. IMAGE © BŁAŻEJ PIECZYŃSKI, AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES TOURSIME, ALAMY, FOTOLIA, GUILLAUME BAVIERE

When it comes to local specialities, Lyon has a lot on its plate. Rosette de Lyon, a cured saucisson, is a firm favourite and perfect with a hunk of freshly baked bread.

Quenelles are creamed fish, shaped, poached and served with sauce – or there’s gras double (tripe cooked with onions). Bugnes – little pieces of dough, twisted and fried in hot oil like doughnuts, then sprinkled with sugar – are traditionally sold in the run-up to Lent.

If you’re visiting Lyon in May-June 2019, look out for the La cité Internationale de la Gastronomie exhibition at the Grand Hôtel-Dieu. It’s set to be a full-on celebration of the pleasures of food and wellbeing and features educational and interactive events: food histories, regional focuses, sensory experiences and a kitchen area where cooks, pastry chefs, cheesemakers, butchers and winegrowers will demonstrate their skills.

Outside Lyon’s gravitational pull, you’ll find the olive groves and peaceful rolling countryside of Drôme, home to more than 500 organic farms – along with Anne-Sophie Pic’s wonderful Maison Pic. Montélimar nougat is also on home turf here, while truffles, mushrooms and chestnuts all grace the local menus and farmers’ markets from mid-November until the end of March.

Over in rugged Auvergne, the food is fantastic but far from refined. One dish to try while you’re here is aligot, creamy comforting mashed potato and cheese, often made with Cantal cheese. Keep out the winter chills with potée auvergnate, a pork and vegetable hotpot. Petit salé is another pork dish, this time cooked with Puy lentils.

Savoie’s cheese-laden tartiflette is just the ticket to warm those cockles. IMAGE © ALAMY, AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES TOURSIME

Try it slathered with the local Charroux mustard. If you prefer a good steak, you’re in luck, thanks to this area’s Salers cattle. Move over Brittany, Auvergne has its own crêpes. Bourriols are made with buckwheat, but can be enjoyed with all the standard Brittany-style toppings.

Rather more refined are Auvergne’s world-famous pâte de fruits, fruit jellies, enjoyed by the rich and famous (among them Madame de Sévigné and Voltaire) for centuries. Made from apricot, pear and quince, they should never wobble. Created in Clermont-Ferrand they developed from the practice of candying the fruits from the area’s extensive orchards.

Ski fans will be glad to hear that Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes has the world’s largest ski area with 173 popular destinations such as Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Megève and Val d’Isère. So pack your gear and make for its snowy peaks for some guilt-free scoffing (all those winter sports will burn off the calories in no time).

Savoie Mont-Blanc has a total of 48 Michelin stars – so there’s no shortage of opportunities for fine dining: Emmanuel Renaut presides over cosy three-starred Flocons de Sel in Megève, while Yannick Alléno at Cheval Blanc’s Le 1947 in Courchevel has recently achieved his third star.

Clermont-Ferrand’s moreish pâte de fruits. IMAGE © ALAMY, AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES TOURSIME

Snow business is tiring and you might just want to wrap up warm and head out to a friendly auberge to indulge in something gooey and stodgy to sustain you for the next day’s skiing. Tartiflette will hit the spot: potatoes layered with Reblochon cheese, cream and bacon – pure comfort food.

Or for some audience participation, go for raclette, which involves melting cheese and pouring it over meats and potatoes yummy truffade, sliced potatoes cooked with cheese and garlic diots (Savoyard sausages) and matafan aux pommes (apple tart) to finish.

The people of this region are rightly proud of their produce and celebrate it with a gusto that is infectious. So if you spot the tell-tale ‘fête’ posters, go along and see what all the excitement is about. Whet your appetite with the annual Fête de la Transhumance in Die, Drôme, in June – an exuberant event with markets selling local produce, concerts, and a procession of sheep – or Lyon’s Biennale Internationale du Goût, a huge celebration of the city’s produce and gastronomic traditions with markets, demonstrations and more.

Or join the locals in honouring their chestnuts at Les Castagnades in Ardèche in October and November their truffles in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, Drôme and new-pressed olive oil in Nyons each February.

Celebrating its produce – whether by creating ‘nouvelle cuisine’ masterpieces, cooking up hearty peasant fare, or simply coming together with fellow food lovers to indulge and have fun – is what makes Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, and France as a whole, tick. Long may it retain its butter and eggs…

BOUCHONS LYONNAIS: A potted history, plus our little black book of the cream of the crop

Lyon is famous for its bouchons – a unique type of bistro with a warm, friendly atmosphere and a menu of local specialities that keep alive culinary traditions handed down over the centuries. The term ‘bouchon’ originated from the bundle of twigs (known as ‘bousche’) restaurant owners hung on their doors as signs.

The history of these small family-run eateries is entwined with the city’s industrial heritage, in particular silk-weaving, as it’s in these bouchons that the workers returning from a night shift would eat their fill. Expect to see lots of pork dishes and offal (Lyon saveloy, marbled calf’s liver, andouillette, quenelles, plus cervelle de canut (cheese dip), and praline tart. They have a very recognisable décor and atmosphere, plus their own quality label, promoted by Les Bouchons Lyonnais association – visit www.lesbouchonslyonnais.org. Two to check out include Le Bouchon des Filles, a charming female-run outfit on rue Sergent Blandan, or for a bit more of a knees-up head for Les Café des Fédérations.

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK: The best restaurants in the region, from Michelin-starred eateries to bouchons

L’ATELIER YSSOIRIEN

This is a chic, modern restaurant in Issoire with one Michelin star and an exciting, creative menu. Try the foie gras, smoked herring and beetroot and raspberry brioche or the red mullet with sweet leeks, mussels and onion broth. Lunchtime menus starts at a very reasonable €28. www.atelier-yssoirien.com

L’AUBERGE DU PONT COLLONGES

No trip to Lyon would be complete without a visit to the flagship restaurant of chefs’ chef Paul Bocuse, three Michelin-starred for 50 years. Now sadly no longer with us, his legacy lives on in the amazing food still served here. It’s simple and sometimes surprising but always wonderful. You may need to save up for this treat though, as the menus range from €175-€275 per person. www.bocuse.fr

Don’t miss a chance to dine at the flagship restaurant of chef’s chef Paul Bocuse, L’Auberge du Pont Collonges. IMAGE © L’AUBERGE DU PONT COLLONGES, AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES TOURSIME, GEORGES BLANC

ANNE-SOPHIE PIC, LE RESTAURANT

Of the nine three-Michelin-starred chefs in the region, Anne-Sophie Pic is the only woman. Her legendary Valence eatery is unpretentious and friendly and the food sublime. She combines unusual ingredients, flavours and textures – such as beef marinated in gin, smoked with Liberica coffee – but never misses the mark. www.anne-sophie-pic.com

LE 1947

For an immersive experience while you eat, visit Yannick Alléno’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Courchevel. The white-draped decor of the dining room is all part of the gastronomic adventure – bringing a hygge-style cosiness as you enjoy the seasonal produce and outstanding cuisine. www.yannick-alleno.com

RÉGIS & JACQUES MARCON

Set on an often cold and wet hillside in the aptly named Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid in Haute-Loire, this Michelin-starred restaurant is run by a father-and-son team. Its menu incorporates the mushrooms that grow in abundance here. Enjoy the magnificent views as you tuck into the tantalising tasting menu featuring langoustines, mussels, veal and, of course, oodles of mushrooms. www.regismarcon.fr

  • Mignardises have never tasted so good at Régis & Jacques Marcon. IMAGE © L’AUBERGE DU PONT COLLONGES, AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES TOURSIME,
  • Georges Blanc turns fresh, seasonal produce into works of art. IMAGE © GEORGES BLANC

GEORGES BLANC

Combining great flavours, field-fresh seasonal local produce and a big helping of tradition, make sure a sojourn to Georges Blanc’s gourmet village is on your gastronomic to-do list. This much-lauded chef produces modern, light masterpieces and there’s a fantastic wine list to complement them. Unforgettable! www.georgesblanc.com

CHABERT & FILS

Chabert & Fils is one of Lyon’s celebrated certified ‘Bouchons Lyonnais’ in the city’s Presqu’île district. Its characterful decor is best described as ‘quirky retro’ and features a magnificent chandelier from the old Lyon opera house. You can eat your fill of hearty fare here as you soak up the wonderful atmosphere. Great value for money. chabertrestaurant.fr

WINE AND LIQUEURS: Zhuzh up your apéro game with Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes’ tipples

BEAUJOLAIS

You may have heard of Beaujolais – the young ‘nouveau’ version anyway – and the mad race to get the first bottle across the Channel. Made in vineyards north of Lyon, the Beaujolais AOC is a bit more grown up. This light-bodied, usually red, wine with a relatively high acidity is a great lunchtime tipple. Its higher-priced cru cousins have more complex flavours. For a warm welcome, tours and tastings, stop off at family-owned Château de Javernand (www.javernand.com), or Château de La Chaize (www.chateaudelachaize.com).

SAVOIE WINES

Located in the foothills of the Alps, in three regions including south of Lake Geneva, the Savoie wine region produces mainly whites. There are 17 Vins de Savoie villages producing appellations. These include Chignin, which produces dry and light white wines Mondeuse d’Arbin, a full-bodied, spicy wine with an intense red-deep colour plus Apremont and Chautagne. For tastings of the Chautagne cru, visit the Cave de Chautagne in Ruffieux (www.cave-de-chautagne.com), or stop off at the Domaine de Méjane (www.domaine-de-mejane.com).

Cap off a tour of Château de La Chaize’s vineyards with a dégustation. IMAGE © CHÂTEAU DE LA CHAIZE, CITE DU CHOCOLAT, SAINT-NECTAIRE AOC

CÔTES DU RHÔNE

The Côtes du Rhône wine-producing area stretches for 200km and covers the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes départements of Drôme, Ardèche and Rhône. The wines of this AOC are mainly reds with a rich, fruity, warm flavour that is pleasant and spicy. The whites are aromatic, light and citrusy – great for summertime drinking. For tasting sessions, head to Vidal-Fleury (www.vidal-fleury.com), or Cave Saint-Désirat (www.cave-saint-desirat.com) in the Ardèche.

LIQUEURS

If you’re in the Isère département, make sure you sample the local Chartreuse herbal liqueurs, flavoured with 130 species of plant. They’re named after the monastery in the mountains around Grenoble and said to have been made since 1737.

Another popular herbal drink, Génépi liqueur, is made in Alpine regions by steeping fragrant artemisia flowers in alcohol. The French drink it straight, as a Kir or in cocktails. In this region, you’ll also come across walnut brandy, cherry eau-de-vie, and many other berry liqueurs.

MARKETS AND FOOD HALLS: The freshest produce – and treats – are only a stall away

HALLES PAUL BOCUSE

Paul Bocuse was the brilliant chef who helped to put Lyon on the foodie map. The incredible market named after him, located in La Part-Dieu near the city’s main train station, is a temple to the very finest produce. Here you’ll find fruits and vegetables, dried meats, poultry, truffles, spices, flowers, cheese from Fromagerie Mons, fresh fish from Maison Pupier and chocolates from Délices des Sens. Not to be missed! halles-de-lyon-paulbocuse.com

MARCHÉ DU PUY-EN-VELAY

The market in Le Puy-en-Velay in Haute-Loire has been an important part of this rural community since the 15th century, when farmers would bring their produce from the surrounding mountains and countryside. This Saturday-morning affair fills the streets around the mairie and the covered market with stalls, locals and visitors. Peruse almost 450 stalls for the best seasonal produce, cheeses (some of the local ones aren’t sold anywhere else) and meats – and think about all that history….

Les Halles Paul Bocuse are a temple to the finest produce. IMAGE © CHÂTEAU DE LA CHAIZE, CITE DU CHOCOLAT, SAINT-NECTAIRE AOC

MARCHÉ DE CHÂTILLON-SUR-CHALARONNE

For seasonal vegetables, poultry, fresh-water fish, cheeses, meats and other local produce head to the weekly market in Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne, Ain. It’s been a regular fixture since the 13th century, but in the 15th century this Saturday-morning market grew too big so the current halles with its wonderful wooden columns was built to house it.

LYON’S OUTDOOR MARKETS

As well as the Halles Paul Bocuse, the city has some wonderful markets that have contributed to its status as the “world capital of gastronomy”. Join those in the know piling their baskets high with local produce at the Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse and the Saint-Antoine farmers’ market, every day but Monday.

TOURS AND TASTINGS: From glorious cheese to chocolate, your scoffing spree starts here

LA ROUTE DES FROMAGES D’AUVERGNE

Crackers ready? Auvergne produces the highest number of AOP cheeses of any French region, so it’s only fair it should have its own cheese trail. Follow the signs and discover its rich diversity of terroirs and cheeses – from nose-pinchingly stinky to mild and creamy. There are a whopping 40 stops across the region where you can meet producers and discover cheesy heaven. www.auvergne-tourism.com

ALPES FLAVEURS

Qualified mountain guide and viticulturist Bernard Vissoud offers a range of tours for enthusiasts keen to get to know the wines of the Savoie Mont-Blanc area. Travel using snow shoes, 2CV, Segway, mountain bike, horse, hot-air balloon – or simply on foot – from vineyard to wine cellar. Wine discovery evenings and tastings in various places can be worked into your itinerary on request. www.alpes-flaveurs.com

Discover Saint-Nectaire’s secrets on the Route des Fromages. IMAGE © CHÂTEAU DE LA CHAIZE, CITE DU CHOCOLAT, SAINT-NECTAIRE AOC

Japan chefs mourn France's Bocuse as 'a god'

Bocuse is revered in France as the "pope" of the country's treasured cuisine, and gained international recognition in part for his revolutionary "Nouvelle Cuisine" in the 1970s.

But he has a special legacy in Japan, where many local chefs trained at his Institut Paul Bocuse, near Lyon.

"He's a god, not only in the world of French cuisine, but in the entire world of cuisine," said Nakatani, executive chef of the Paul Bocuse brand in Japan.

"Good produce, well seasoned, good cooking: that is good cuisine," he added, switching to French to reel off his mentor's golden rules.

"These are the words that will stay with me."

Nakatani was flying to France this week to join more than 1,500 chefs from around the world paying tribute to Bocuse at his funeral in Lyon.

The French chef first visited Japan decades ago, and struck up a partnership with local chef Hiroyuki Hiramatsu, who would go on to manage Bocuse's six brasseries and two restaurants in Japan.

The first opened in 2007, the "Brasserie Paul Bocuse Le Musee," inside Tokyo's National Arts Centre, where it occupies a dramatic spot atop a massive inverted concrete cone that dominates the museum's glass atrium.

A staircase runs down from the centre of the dining space into the depths of the cone, where cooks work silently and gracefully, delicately garnishing dishes that replicate Bocuse's French delicacies.

The kitchen resembles the steel interior of a spaceship, with copper pots and pans hanging on all sides, and cooks in chef's whites gliding past each other.

They tenderly prepare slices of duck terrine presented with mini cornichons and plump and golden portions of chicken confit.

Then coarse salt is sprinkled on the dishes, which are intended to transport diners thousands of kilometres away to the Lyon region where Bocuse lived and worked.

Jun Ueda, 42, has worked at the brasserie since it opened, and can hardly believe its founder is gone.

"It's deeply sad," he said, his starched chef's hat perched atop his head.

"I lost my father at the age of 17 and I can tell you the shock was just as great."

"He's the one who inspired me to cook French food," he added, as a cook nearby sliced expertly though a sitting row of glistening red tomatoes.

Each of Bocuse's restaurants and brasseries in Japan was designed to mirror of one of his establishments in France, with the museum brasserie's menu modelled on that of his Brasserie des Lumieres in Lyon's football stadium.

"A museum is. a very special place, borderless," said Yuriko Narusawa, a PR official for Paul Bocuse's Japanese operations.

"That is one of the reasons why we wanted to open our first restaurant here. Because the aim is to spread French cuisine. So this is an ideal place."

"Monsieur Paul" as he was known, was France's only chef to keep the Michelin food bible's coveted three-star rating for more than four decades.

But he distained overly fussy food, seeking to create only dishes that would tempt diners back "for a second helping."

"He left us his philosophy, the way he thought about cooking," said Nakatani, who did several training sessions in Lyon.

"He was always saying 'simply', and I think that best sums up his cooking philosophy."

Bocuse, who died at 91, was a larger-than-life character, and infamously maintained a relationship with his wife as well as two lovers.

He also exuded a warmth that extended to every employee at restaurants, his former students say.

"He treated everyone like a family member, even staff members, dishwashers," said Nakatani.

"He is a god, but he is also a big father."

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Watch the video: Shiso Palate Cleanser La Dame De Pic Raffles Hotel Singapore 3 Michelin French Chef Anne-Sophie Pic


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