There was a time Louis XV three star Michelin was one of the top gastronomical experiences in France and today it has the cache of being great, yet it isn’t quite the same. As a fan of Ducasse, I worry with the closure of l’Hôtel Plaza Athénée, it seems the empire of Alain Ducasse is slipping on his game.
I watched his growth over the past 30-years where I used to see him in with his then girlfriend on Sundays at our local favourite restaurant named Roquebrune in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, since closed and re-opened under different management and ownership. There was only one Patricia and her sister Marina and her Dad and Mom, it was top. Ducasse was one of the first French chefs to open a casual concept, a little too early, the concept failed. No doubt he is a culinary genius, and deserves the respect.
The idea of farm to table was one of Ducasse’s inventions and classical trained chefs worked for their asses off to deliver near perfection.In those days Ducasse was at the top of his game and he was overseeing his restaurants as a chef, he was still working in the kitchen. Now a days he could have difficulty holding onto his signature Louis XV as the paradigm shift is right under his nose.
Rock fish jelly and caviar was one of those dishes you cannot forget, heaps of shinny caviar and the jelly jiggles with saffron and the shrimps were excellent. The presentation perfect and this dish was one of those memorable, you dream it.
The problem is haute cuisine is less and less popular and for most they prefer the Buddha Bar and or a more trendy, less formal environment. The second issue is who can afford the experience with the rising costs of raw materials, labor, and the man-power required to undertake three star service etc. The number of chefs in the kitchen, the brigade is immense and these kinds of restaurants cannot be profitable, and in fact lose €€€€.
We pray Ducasse can survive“`…..time will tell.