One of Switzerland’s most renowned chefs, Philippe Rochat, has died while bicycling, a police spokesperson has confirmed. He was 61.
Jean-Christophe Sauterel of Vaud cantonal police reported that Rochat was cycling with two other people when he “probably became faint”. The authorities are investigating the exact cause of the death.
Rochat owned the Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville in Crissier,external link near Lausanne, where he was awarded three Michelin stars between 1997 and 2012. The restaurant was also rated 19, out of a maximum of 20, by Gault Millau, another leading French restaurant guide.
In 1999, Gault Millau Switzerland nominated Rochat “Chef of the Year”, before the guide’s French edition did the same the following year.
Rochat was born in 1953 in the Joux Valley in northwestern Switzerland. He began his training at the age of 14 at the Buffet de la Gare de Romont, before working in Zurich, and then under the command of Frédy Girardet in Crissier. Girardet was considered among the top chefs in the world until his retirement in 1996.
In 2002, Rochat’s wife died in an avalanche while skiing in canton Vaud. Franziska Rochat-Moser, 35 at the time of her death, was Switzerland’s most successful female marathon runner.
Jean-Claude Biver, the CEO of watchmakers TAG Heuer and Hublot, who befriended Rochat through a shared passion for cycling, said he was "shattered" on hearing about his death.
He explained that Rochat was a very good cyclist, often winning races as an amateur against professionals.
"He never let go and always went to the end. But he was also a very careful person."
swissinfo.ch and agencies