Michel Guérard has held three Michelin stars for decades. He’s been on the cover of Time magazine and sold more than a million books. In the 1970s he created the style of food known as cuisine minceur—“slimming cooking”. His flagship restaurant is housed in a health spa.
So is Guérard quitting sugar? Dodging gluten? Not that we know of, and not that the occasional sweet treat appears to have done him any harm.
Until well past his 80th birthday, visitors to his fabled Les Prés Eugénie restaurant could still find him in the kitchen (“on fine form and looked like he could continue for many years to come” wrote critic Andy Hayler in a 2015 online review). Guérard’s most recent book—there have been many—is a collection of recipes and memories. Called Mots et Mets, it was published in French by Sud Ouest Gourmand in November last year. It’s proof, perhaps, that Guérard’s approach to cooking and eating—low in kilojoules, high in flavour, and allowing room for a little indulgence here and there—can contribute to a long life. “I have never banned anything from my plate,” he told London’s The Telegraph in 2014.
This simple and delicious panna cotta exemplifies the Guérard approach by relying more on milk than on cream. It’s lighter than a traditional cream-dominated version of this dish but it’s still smooth and full of flavour, brightened with summery strawberries.