Alain Ducasse is one of the most celebrated chefs in the world, having won the Best Chef title at three different Michelin-starred restaurants in France. Already an incredibly successful restaurateur, Ducasse has also hosted a food and travel show, written a number of cookbooks, and collaborated with other chefs on a number of projects. He has also served as a judge on various chef-related television shows.
Alain Ducasse was born in 1952 in the town of Saint-Grégoire-le-Vieux, in the Alpes-Maritimes region of southern France. His parents owned a restaurant in Saint-Grégoire, and when it closed Ducasse, his brother and sister were left to run it. Ducasse, who had been cooking since childhood, took over the day-to-day running of the business. He worked hard to create a high-quality dining experience for his customers, as well as to give his siblings the support they needed to run the business successfully.
In 1974, Ducasse opened his first restaurant in the French town of Roquebrade. Although the restaurant closed after only three months, it offered the public a glimpse of what was to come.
In the early 1980s, Ducasse opened his second restaurant in the town of Cabrieres in southern France. The restaurant had three dining rooms, and its food was based around local ingredients such as truffles.
Becomes a Cook
After working in his parents’ restaurant, Ducasse began his professional career as a sommelier and a host at a number of restaurants, including the L’Ambroisie in Vence, and the Hôtel Negresco in Nice. In 1973, he began working at the Hôtel Le Meurice in Paris, where he remained until 1990. At the Meurice, he helped to create the first menu entirely made up of fish.
As Ducasse became more established in the culinary world, he began to get offers to work for other chefs, including the Robuchon brothers, who were mentors of Ducasse when he was a young chef. During this period, Ducasse also hosted a food and travel show, "Alain Ducasse, En Route," which aired on the French television channel Canal+.
Travels to Japan
While working as a host, Ducasse began to develop a passion for Japanese cuisine. In 1984, he traveled to Japan to explore the country further, and visited numerous restaurants to try their food. One restaurant in particular caught his eye: Matsuhisa, which is located in Tokyo. Ducasse felt that the chef, Matsuhisa Uematsu, understood the ingredients in a way that few other chefs did at the time.
After working his way through a number of dishes, Ducasse finally decided on a dish made from sea urchin. He was immediately struck by the dish’s freshness and complexity. He later told Eater, “It was a dish that was like a little melody.“
Uematsu, who was a judge on the television program "Iron Chef," was impressed by Ducasse’s dish, and the two kept in touch over the years. In 2018, Ducasse and Uematsu finally met in person, when Ducasse was a guest judge on the Iron Chef.
Co-Founds L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
In 1991, Ducasse and Robuchon collaborated on the opening of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris. The restaurant, which was modelled on Robuchon’s own training restaurant, was located in the Hotel de Crillon. It offered two dining rooms, as well as a kitchen that was open to the public, and allowed Robuchon fans to watch him cook.
The two chefs also worked together on the creation of L’Atelier’s wine list. Robuchon, who was well known for his love of wine, had previously worked with a number of well-known wine producers. He had a particular dislike for the practice of wines being sold at restaurants at a significantly lower price than they cost in a wine shop. Robuchon was shocked when he tasted the wines at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and found them to be priced at a reasonable level.
Over the years, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon has won numerous awards, including the Best Restaurant award at the World’s Best Awards in 2016, and the Best Chef award at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2017.
Hosts Travel Show
In 2004, Ducasse starred in "Alain Ducasse, au Plaisir de Voyager," a cooking and travel show that aired on Canal+. The show took place in London, and featured Ducasse working alongside a number of British chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, Ashley Palmer-Watts, and Angela Hart.
The show was broadcast in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, and aired for two seasons. In the first season, Ducasse traveled to countries all over the world, including the United States, Singapore, Australia, China, and Europe. In the second season, the focus was on travel through France.
Becomes a Master Chef
Throughout his career, Ducasse has been recognized as a master chef. He was the first French chef to win the Best Chef title at three different restaurants—the Meurice in Paris, the L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris, and the Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Crillon in Paris.
In addition to his work in the kitchen, Ducasse has also made a name for himself as a culinary personality. He has been a judge on a number of culinary-related television programs, including "Top Chef," "Iron Chef," and "MasterChef." He has also been a guest judge on a number of other cooking shows, including "Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma," and "Azumina Challenge."