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					              Many may be aware of Alain
              Ducasse’s culinary expertise,
              but for the uninitiated here is a
              glimpse of what he does best.

              Text: Scott Adams




     Talent
       Personified


52                         NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2009
                                                                                       profile



                         “G
                                           ranny, you’ve over-          to me. I often create simple dishes
                                           cooked the French            using no more than two ingredients, one
                                           beans.” The 12-              aromatic element and a tiny pinch of
                         year-old who dared to say this to his          salt.” Although Alain is a busy man, he
                         grandmother on a farm in the Landes            always takes time out to taste; a new
                         region of France, already had dreams           olive oil, a fresh strawberry, a Lebanese
                         of becoming a cook. The undisputed             bread or a new type of cheese.
                         ‘master of the kitchen’, Alain Ducasse,           Now at the age of 53, but looking
                         who has spread his wings and mounted           much younger, he has more than 35
                         Michelin Star restaurants around the           years of experience behind him. His first
                         world, was born amongst chickens,              taste of real success came when he
                         ducks and geese near the small French          was working in 1980 as head chef at Le
                         town of Castel-Sarrazin, and raised with       Terrasse in the Hotel Juana in Jean-les–
                         the smell of boletus mushrooms and             Pins. His work there attracted attention
                         foie-gras in the air.                          from visiting food lovers from all over the
                             Alain Ducasse’s skill and flare have       world, and he was recognised with two
                         expanded way beyond the boundaries             stars in the Michelin Guide. From there,
                         of France, and he now has restaurants in       things started to take off, as he recalls.
                         four continents, two of which have three       “It was in 1987 that I got a phone call
                         Michelin Stars each. In total, he holds an     asking me to manage the restaurant Le
                         amazing 18 Michelin Stars around the           Louis XV, in Monte Carlo.” Of course, Le
                         world. “First and foremost, a restaurant       Louis XV was the first hotel restaurant to
                         is a place where you eat,” explains Alain      be awarded the highest honour of three
                         while sitting in the gilded surrounds of his   Michelin Stars in less than three years.
                         restaurant in the Plaza Athénée in Paris.      With that Alain’s success was sealed,
                         “Flavours are of the utmost importance         and he has never looked back.



                                                                                                 The Dorchester, London.
                                                                                                 (Inset): Alain Ducasse.




                                                                        first taste of real
                                                                        success came when
                                                                        alain was working
                                                                        as head chef at
                                                                        le terrasse in
                                                                        hotel Juana in
                                                                        Jean-les–Pins, in 1980.



NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2009                                                                                                     53
 Not coNteNt with
 three MicheliN                               and artichokes and plump asparagus are      is set in the luxurious surrounds of the
 stars, alaiN                                 like gifts from the Gods.                   Beau Arts styled St Regis Hotel, just
 opeNed aNother                                  Not content with just three Michelin     off the glamorous 5th Avenue. What
 restauraNt iN                                Stars, Alain opened another restaurant      makes Adour so distinctive is that the

 2000, iN the                                 in 2000, this time in the heart of          experience is driven by the grape. First
                                              Paris. His efforts have paid off, and       choose your wine and then allow the
 heart of paris.                              the restaurant, called Alain Ducasse        sommelier to guide you to which dishes
                                              at the Plaza Athénée, now boasts
     As one of the many sparkling             three Michelin Stars too. Guests find
 jewels in his crown, Le Louis XV, in the     themselves in a dining room with truly
 enchanting principality of Monaco, is        impressive architecture, notably the
 emblematic of greatness. Since 1987          gilded ceiling, which is hung with over
 Alain has excelled in the Versailles         10,000 sparkling crystals creating
 style dining room, which is swathed          an ‘exploding chandelier’ effect. This
 in gold and bathed in the heavenly           sumptuous environment inspired Alain
 Mediterranean light. Huge French doors       to allow guests a degree of creativity
 open out onto the terrace overlooking        when ordering from his menu. “You can
 the Place du Casino. The menu — a            choose from and combine a number
 Mediterranean symphony — changes             of items. It’s a melting pot of different
 with the seasons. The summer menu            cultures, regions and produce,” he
 plays tribute to seafood and lighter fare,   smiles cheekily, as he looks over the top
 such as the warm, blue lobster salad         of his glasses.
 or the selection of exquisite French            Across the Atlantic, in New York,
 cheeses. The French Riviera is generous      his creative flare and expertise shine
 with citrus fruits, which add freshness,     just as brightly. The restaurant Adour


54                                                                                                          NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2009
                                                                                                                 is a multi-faceted person. He rarely has
                                                                                                                 problems finding solutions or expressing
                                                                                                                 his creativity. Of course, he can’t be in
                                                                                                                 every one of his restaurants all the time,
                                                                                                                 so he meticulously trains his executive
                                                                                                                 chefs and then leaves them to continue
                                                                                                                 his work. “I trust my staff implicitly, and
                                                                                                                 they know that a dish must taste the
                                                                                                                 same day after day. There is no room for
                                                                                                                 improvisation.”
                                                                                                                     As one of the great names in food,
                                                                                                                 he is an inspiration to many around the
                                                                                                                 world, and imitations are bound to spring
                                                                                                                 up. Alain is not displeased when he
                                                                                                                 comes across flavours or compositions
 Above: A ‘hands-on’ person, Chef Alain spends a lot of time with his staff and the ingredients.                 that he has invented. He acknowledges
 Facing Page: The main dining room at The Dorchester in London is a quiet haven of exquisite design.
                                                                                                                 the flirtation, but hates copies. After all,
 Facing Page (Below): Colour and texture play an important part in all the dishes, including the desserts.
                                                                                                                 there is only one Alain Ducasse!

 will complement it best. There is also
                                                                     Live the ALAin DucAsse styLe
 a cozy leather-clad bar area, which is
 perfect for enjoying a glass of fine wine                           St Regis, New York
 and a number of tapas-sized portions of                             Simply the best address in New York, the century-old St Regis offers sumptuous
 items off the menu.                                                 suites dressed immaculately in precious silks, original art and antiques. Allow your
     London is still reeling from the thrill                         private butler to look after your every whim. Regarded by many gourmands as
 of having Alain open his first restaurant                           the best restaurant in New York, Adour by Alain Ducasse is located on the ground
                                                                     floor.
 in Britain. Situated inside the opulent,
 high-society rendezvous, The Dorchester,                            The Dorchester, London
 this haven of fine food has already been
                                                                     Positioned right on Hyde Park, The Dorchester has been hosting royalty and the
 garlanded with two Michelin Stars.                                  rich and famous for over 60 years. The luxurious rooftop suites are decorated in a
 Summer brings with it a number of                                   style inspired by the golden age of Hollywood in the 1950s. Allow your senses to
 lighter and fresher taste sensations.                               be indulged at the beautiful restaurant by Alain Ducasse on the ground floor.
 The glittering dining room, with its silver
                                                                     Plaza Athénée, Paris
 crystal and silk interior, is the perfect
                                                                     Summer at the Plaza Athénée means sitting out in the beautiful garden courtyard
 setting to enjoy marinated scallops with
                                                                     with a cool cocktail after spending time discovering the city and the nearby
 black truffle, hot and cold spicy crab, foie
                                                                     haute couture boutiques. The glorious suites are reminiscent of elegant Parisian
 gras with mango and to finish off on a
                                                                     apartments and many offer stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. Dine in style at Alain
 sweet note, lime soufflé.
                                                                     Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée under the 10,000 shimmering crystals, hanging
     At the heart of these restaurants is                            from the ceiling.
 the development of new concepts for
 the cooking of tomorrow. When creating                              Hotel de Paris, Monte Carlo
 these new restaurants Alain is involved at                          Set at the heart of the French Riviera the Hotel de Paris is a temple of hedonistic
 all levels, as he explains. “I love to have                         delights and the playground of the rich and famous. The palatial interiors of this

 a hands-on approach with all my new                                 iconic building are very French and many of the rooms offer stunning sea views.
                                                                     Treat yourself to the majesty of dining at Alain Ducasse’s restaurant, Le Louis XV.
 restaurants.” What is obvious is that he


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