French chef Andre Daguin, credited with inventing the magret de canard dish emblematic of southwestern France and making the rich duck delicacy famous worldwide, has died aged 84, his family said. He died peacefully on Tuesday at his home in Auch, near Toulouse, after a struggle with cancer, his daughter Ariane Daguin said. He took over the Hotel de France restaurant in Auch from his father, receiving his first Michelin star in 1960 and another a decade later. It was there that he dreamt up the magret de canard dish, made from the breast of a duck (or a goose) that has been fattened for foie gras.

This file photo shows French hotel business union’s president Andre Daguin. Andre Daguin, 84, died in Auch on December 3, 2019, according to his daughter. — AFP

The extra fat gives the meat a succulent, melt-in-the-mouth taste that rapidly won over diners in France as well as abroad. "He was the one who 'invented' the magret de canard, promoting it through his restaurant," said Roland Heguy, the president of France's union of hoteliers UMIH. "He had a personality and unique charisma. He had a great presence, always with a beret on his head, and gave a lot of color to his profession," he added. "A great chef has left us. He was a man committed to defending homegrown produce and French cuisine," wrote Guillaume Gomez, the head chef at the Elysee Palace, on Twitter.- AFP