Alain Ducasse: A thoroughly contemporary chef

 

The head chef at three restaurants with three-star status in Monaco, Paris and London, Alain Ducasse is one of the world’s most iconic chefs with a passion for passing on his know-how. We take a closer look at the man who has been reigning over the Hôtel de Paris’ Louis XV – Alain Ducasse restaurant for nearly 30 years now.

The ingredients of success

alain ducasse

 

 

Born in 1956 on a farm in France’s Landes region amidst chickens, ducks and geese, Alain Ducasse grew up on mushrooms and foie gras in a bucolic setting. South west France introduced him to the joys of regional produce from an early age, teaching him how to respect, preserve and cook with local ingredients.

He began his career at the age of 16 in south-western France, before training at Bordeaux’s hospitality school. Michel Guérard, Gaston Lenôtre, and Roger Vergé at the Moulin de Mougins are the iconic names who helped shape Alain Ducasse into the hard-working, passionate chef we know today. Roger Vergé introduced him to the rich flavors of Provençal cuisine that would later inspire his own culinary creations.

In 1978, Alain Ducasse began working under Alain Chapel, who became his mentor, before accepting Roger Vergé’s job offer and taking up the position of chef at L’Amandier in Mougins. A year later, he found himself at the helm of La Terrasse, the restaurant at the Hôtel Juana in Juan-les-Pins. It was here that he was awarded two Michelin stars from the prestigious Red Guide in 1984.

The Monaco chapter

In 1987, he began his adventures in Monaco. The Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer offered him the position of head chef at the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, and of restaurant manager at the Louis XV. Alain Ducasse was 33 years old, and the restaurant 33 months old, when the Louis XV became the first hotel restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars by the Red Guide. After having contributed to the successful openings of other hotel restaurants, Alain Ducasse poured all his time and energy into his own eponymous restaurant: the Louis XV-Alain Ducasse.

In 1998, he became the first chef in the history of the Michelin Guide to be awarded three stars twice: three for the Louis XV – Alain Ducasse restaurant at the Hôtel de Paris – Monaco and three for the Alain Ducasse restaurant at the Hôtel du Parc – Paris, an establishment that had opened in 1996.

 

Alain Ducasse has openly expressed his view that chefs shouldn’t always have to be in performance mode. He himself serves as a source of inspiration for the recipes, atmosphere, design and structure of the kitchen and flair that shines through in the dining experience, as a ‘designer chef‘ who manages his own teams. “The chef is responsible for injecting excellence into the everyday,” he is quoted as saying. Surrounding himself with top professionals, he recruits his own restaurant and kitchen teams.

 

The Louis XV – Alain Ducasse at the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco, the Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée, the Le Meurice Alain Ducasse and Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester in London: heading up these gourmet institutions, over the years he has become a hotel manager, a designer, but first and foremost a veritable team leader. From the Jules Verne restaurant on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower to Idam, his restaurant in the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, each of his exceptional spaces are treated to their very own brand of cuisine.

 

His deep respect for nature and the endangered resources of our planet have led him to increase his initiatives for responsible fine-dining. In September 2014, he introduced his vegetable-, fish- and grain-based ‘naturalness’ cuisine at the Plaza Athénée’s Alain Ducasse restaurant.

A chef bubbling with ideas

Working within his Ducasse Education project, Alain Ducasse is actively involved in training professionals and non-professionals alike via a training center and cooking school in Paris, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie d’Yssingeaux pastry technical college in the Haute-Loire region and through developing educational partnerships in Manilla, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

He is also the president of the voluntary ‘Châteaux & Hôtels Collection’ chain and manages rural inns in Provence: the Bastide de Moustiers and the Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de La Celle. He has a real soft spot for bistro cuisine and is heavily involved with Benoit in Paris, New York and Tokyo, and Aux Lyonnais and Allard in Paris. 

 

Alain Ducasse is also the brain behind restaurants such as La Trattoria in Monaco or Rivea in Saint-Tropez, London and Las Vegas.

 

In May 2013, Johnson & Wales University in Providence (Rhode Island) awarded him the title of Doctor of Culinary Arts, Honoris Causa.

 

The chef’s latest projects:

In April 2016, he will be opening the Champeaux contemporary brasserie at the Forum des Halles.

 

Find out more about the chef at www.alain-ducasse.com