Alain Ducasse Talks About His New Film, Sustainable Cuisine and the Mario Batali Allegations
The French chef's documetary 'The Quest of Alain Ducasse' debuts June 8.
Master Chef. Author. Educator. Bon Vivant. Perfectionist. These are the many sides of Alain Ducasse that moviegoers will meet when The Quest of Alain Ducasse debuts in theaters and on demand June 8.
The multi-Michelin-starred Ducasse recently hosted an exclusive showing of his film at Rivea inside Delano Las Vegas, one of his two U.S. restaurants. He has more than two dozen worldwide — like the lauded Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in Paris — in addition to cooking schools, chocolate shops, inns and numerous other entrepreneurial endeavors — even his own specially blended Grey Goose vodka.
The 61-year-old French-born Monégasque Ducasse, now, does very little cooking but a lot of talking, flying, smelling and tasting. The documentary follows him as he bounces around the globe in pursuit of the perfect ingredients for the 2016 opening of Ore at Chateau de Versailles, both a daytime restaurant and a nighttime special event space which hosts Royal Tables with historical menus on re-edited Marie-Antoinette porcelain served by staff dressed in the period.
The culinarian, who never stops moving, in the film and in real life, sat down to share his thoughts — via translator — on sustainable cuisine, the sexual misconduct claims against Mario Batali and why he may never get to tell the world what he loves about Tokyo.
On Ore, two years later:
“The lunches are doing great, and the Royal dinner. No matter their nationality, everybody is amazed that after three centuries you can still live this experience like it was before. If the kings were still here, it would be the kind of dinner they would [have].”
On Mario Batali:
“[I know him] as a great chef, generous, smiling, dynamic, friendly … it is serious what happens here with all this. The U.S. is a bigger country than France. In Europe, fortunately, there are maybe less problems like [this]. We don't really know. It's very serious here but in Europe it [has not yet become part of the conversation].”
On his most unique bite:
“The next one. I have had too many extraordinary experiences around the world. Everytime [I travel I] discover something. It's always exciting. And what makes it special is the atmosphere and the environment where you eat this bite. [It’s] the intangible something that you cannot touch, you cannot control. All these ingredients make people happy and [make] a memory.”
On the future of fine dining:
“Fine dining is the same idea as haute couture. Haute couture influences fashion and fine dining influences cooking. There will be always new haute couture designers. There will always be new fine-dining restaurants. These chefs will influence this industry and influence the cuisine. Chef Jean-Philippe Blondet at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester is only 34 years old. He's a great creator.”
On his obsession with sustainability:
“We have to be careful with waste. We try to use everything from the ingredients, from the roots to the end. Everywhere in the world we try to respect and follow the seasons. What is most important is where the products are from, who made the product, the origin. For example [with meat], the farmers we like to work [are] people [who] respect the environment, respect the products.”
On whether he will do more of his J'aime series, reportage-style travel books that highlight cities for foodies:
“To prepare my New York book — J'aime New York: 150 Culinary Destinations for Food Lovers — the photographer worked four months. I like this idea but it's too long and too hard to prepare another one. I have an idea to [do] Tokyo [but] it's too complicated.”
On what's next:
“I go to Macau to open two restaurants at Morpheus at City of Dreams. [There is] Alain Ducasse Macau — very fine dining. I present French cuisine and I use local products and I respect the season. You want to please the local clients. Not only the international clients, but the Chinese clients. And there's a restaurant named Voyage. I propose cuisine from my travels around the world in the Southern Hemisphere. I mix Latino and Asian influence. I use more than [20,000 square feet] with a beautiful bar, a beautiful Voyage restaurant and Alain Ducasse Macau. The sky is my limit. [We’re] going to open almost ten restaurants next year in different countries: Japan, Singapore, Mongolia, Paris and New York.”