Any reference to a Michelin star restaurant or gourmet hotel is incomplete without the words ‘Alain Ducasse’ in it – the iconic head chef of three such places in Monaco, Paris and London. Whether it is his passion for Provençale cuisine, his consultancy to cooking schools or the Michelin star restaurants (such as the celebrated Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo) under his stewardship, Alain Ducasse runs the show with panache which is unparalleled in the culinary world.
The Road to Success
Born in Castelsarrasin, Southwestern France in 1956, Alain was introduced to a career in cuisine at the age of 16 when he enrolled as an apprentice at a local restaurant in Soustons. His hard work, perseverance and passion for culinary skills paid off and led him to Moulin de Mougins where his mentors familiarised him with the flavours of Provence. This set the ball rolling for the success that was to follow. The celebrated Michelin star chef ‘Alain Chapel’ took him under his wing and this paved the way for the first Michelin stars that were earned by Alain as the executive chef at La Terrasse. There was no looking back after this milestone, as he went on to win several accolades and awards in his domain.
Dominating the Gourmet Hotels World
Alain Ducasse is the undisputed king of the culinary realm owing to his grand collection of 21 Michelin stars no less (second only to Joël Robuchon who has his own constellation) He now has his own restaurants and gourmet hotels across the world from his 3 Michelin star restaurant at the Essex House, New York and the Dorchester in London to his restaurants in Las Vegas, Qatar, Beirut, Gstaadt, Mauritius and Hong-Kong!
Not only has he earned the distinction of being the youngest chef to ever win 3 Michelin stars, he is also the first chef ever to be at the helm of three 3-star restaurants at the same time! He was the head chef at Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo and a 33 year old manager at Louis XV, when Louis XV became the first gourmet hotel to be awarded 3 Michelin stars.
Considering the five 1-star restaurants added to his credit, the count of Michelin stars awarded to Alain Ducasse continues to go up. He is known for recruiting his own kitchen and restaurant teams to maintain the exclusivity and dining experience that has come to be associated with his name.
Apart from his culinary skills and expertise in handling gourmet hotels, he has constantly endeavoured to spread his knowledge across the world in the form of cookbooks, cooking schools and offering consultation services. The Alain Ducasse Culinary Encyclopedia, authored by him, is one of the most referenced books related to the culinary world.
Despite his ridiculous success Ducasse remains grounded in his core values “Each good product, grown with love and respect, in its distinctive land, has an incomparable flavour, without which, a chef is nothing.” Something the next generation of chef’s would be wise to heed. Though he spends little time in the kitchen nowadays (he considers himself more a “chef-creator”) his influence on the culinary world is far reaching with many a ‘celebrity chef’ trying to emulate his success.
The Sky is the Limit
Another jewel in his culinary crown is his cooking school for chefs in Paris (ADF) which collaborates with the European Space Agency to develop astronaut meals to be taken into space. For this reason, it would not be incorrect to say that Alain Ducasse has not only made a mark on this planet but has his eyes firmly set on including outer space and beyond to his culinary realm!