French chef of 3-star restaurant

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Paul Haeberlin, 84, who founded one of France's oldest three-star Michelin restaurants and was once one of the world's top chefs, died Saturday at his home in Illhaeusern, France. Haeberlin had various ailments, including cardiac and kidney problems, said a spokesman for his L'Auberge de l'Ill restaurant.

Last year, the restaurant in the small village of Illhaeusern celebrated 40 unbroken years of three-star status, a rare feat.

Haeberlin grew up in a restaurant and small country inn founded by his grandparents in the mid-1800s. As a teenager, he apprenticed as a chef in Paris.

That original restaurant was destroyed by World War II bombing. Haeberlin and his brother Jean-Pierre, an artist, opened their restaurant on the site in 1950. The Michelin Guide, France's bible of gastronomy, awarded the restaurant's first star in 1952. The others came in 1957 and 1967. After Haeberlin retired about a decade ago, his son Marc took over.

Haeberlin was known for innovative takes on classics. Signature dishes included frog mousse and quail stuffed with calves sweetbread.

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