Alain Ducasse is the French chef with the most Michelin stars. Like many great chefs, he began his career in France’s finest restaurants, before rising through the ranks to become one of the world’s most prestigious chefs. With 21 Michelin stars, Alain Ducasse is known for his innovative cuisine, his passion for revealing the original taste of products and for his restaurants around the world. In addition to his culinary talents, the chef is also an accomplished teacher. He has opened a cooking school that trains top chefs. The french chef has also received numerous awards for his contribution to gastronomy. In this article, we will take a closer look at the life and work of this global chef.
The beginnings of the starred chef
At the age of 16, Alain Ducasse started an apprenticeship and joined the kitchens of the restaurant “le pavillon landais” and the hotel and tourism school of Gascony. In 1975, he joined the brigade of starred chef Michel Guérard in his restaurant in Eugénie-les-Bains. At the same time, he trained with the Norman pastry chef Gaston Le-Nôtre. Attracted by Provençal cuisine, he joined the brigade of chef Roger Vergé at the “Moulin de Mougins” in 1977. In 1978, he joined Alain Chapel, a great chef from the Auvergne region, who allowed him to perfect his skills and work with local products with love. In 1980, Roger Vergé, with whom he had collaborated in 1977, offered Alain Ducasse the position of head chef in his new restaurant l’Amandier in Mougins. In 1984, the chef obtains his first 2 stars in the Michelin guide in the restaurant ” la terrasse de l’hôtel Juana ” located in Juan-les-Pins, on the French Riviera. But a very serious aeroplane accident that same year forced Alain Ducasse to take a break from the kitchen for several months.
Alain Ducasse’s restaurants
In 1987, the Monté-Carlo Hotel de Paris asked Alain Ducasse to open a gastronomic restaurant, the Louis XV. At the age of 33, the chef was awarded the third star of this prestigious place and the Monegasque hotel became the first palace in the world to have such a distinction. In 1995, Alain Ducasse opened the bastide of Moustiers, in the heart of the Gorges du Verdon. In 2002, the inn was awarded a Michelin star. In 1996, he took over the restaurant of the Hôtel du Parc, located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, where the starred chef Joël Robuchon was in charge of the kitchen. After only 8 months of opening, he was awarded three stars in the red guide for the second time. In 1999, Alain Ducasse was appointed president of the Châteaux et Hôtels de France chain, which has nearly 500 establishments. In 2000, he transferred the Hotel du Parc to the premises of the Parisian palace on Avenue Montaigne and the Plaza Athénée was awarded its third star after five months. In 2021, he left the establishment and the kitchen was entrusted to chef Jean Imbert.
The company and its development
Throughout his career, Alain Ducasse has been able to diversify by developing and today, he is at the head of a group that brings together nearly 1,500 employees. The main activity of the group is to buy and open restaurants and hotels around the world:
- In 2000, he opened a restaurant in New York called “At the Essex House” which obtained 4 stars in 2001.
- In 2003, he opened a second restaurant in New York called “le mix”.
- In 2004, he opened the Tamaris restaurant in Lebanon.
- In 2004, he set up his kitchens on the top floor of Mandela Bay in Las Vegas
- In 2004, he opened a restaurant on the top floor of the Chanel boutique in Tokyo.
- In 2005, he created the Benoit brand, a bistro restaurant concept in the 4th arrondissement of Paris and duplicated the model in Tokyo.
- In 2007, he took over the management of the restaurants of the Eiffel Tower, in partnership with the Sodexo group for the catering part. In the same year, he opened a restaurant in London.
- In 2013, the chef took over the kitchens of Le Meurice, the famous Parisian palace.
- In 2013, he opened the chocolate factory, a brand specializing in the manufacture of high-end chocolates.
- In 2016, he opened a restaurant in the Dufour pavilion within the Palace of Versailles.
Today, Alain Ducasse owns 34 restaurants spread over 3 continents and 7 countries.
The recipe for Gravlax, potatoes and riquette according to Alain Ducasse
For the marinade, you will need:
- 1 bunch dill
- 150 grams of coarse gray salt
- 150 grams of fine salt
- 100 grams of caster sugar
- 1 lemon zest
- 20 grams of pepper
- 15 grams of crushed juniper berries
Leaf the dill, put all the ingredients in a container. Mix well. Put half of the marinade in a dish then place the salmon fillet on it. Cover with remaining marinade. Chill 24 hours.
For the recipe you will need:
- 750 grams of Scottish salmon (fillet)
- 1 kg new potatoes
- 100 grams of riquette (wild rocket)
- 1 bunch of chives
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Coarse salt and fleur de sel
Rinse the salmon under running water and pat dry. Remove bones. Cut the fish diagonally into very thin slices. Rub the potatoes with coarse salt moistened with water. Cook for 15 minutes in boiling water. Wash the arugula, squeeze dry and season with a drizzle of lemon juice, olive oil and a few fleur de sel crystals. Cut the chives, drain the potatoes, cut them in 2 and put them in a dish. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons of olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with chives, pepper, distribute the riquette and the pieces of salmon on top. To serve.
More information on the chef’s website www.ducasse-paris.com/en