Alain Ducasse, the French chef famous for his natural approach to food and winner of the most Michelin stars in the world, is leaving the restaurant at the luxury Parisian hotel Plaza Athénée which has been his base for more than two decades.
The Dorchester group, which manages the Plaza Athénée, did not give reasons for its decision to separate, but confirmed that Ducasse would continue to collaborate in its other restaurants, the Meurice in Paris and The Dorchester in London.
The separation, effective from June 30, is presented as by mutual agreement.
Ducasse, who is 64 and has garnered 21 Michelin stars during his career, recently made headlines for his sweeping decision to stop using two staples of French cuisine: meat and butter.
He reshaped the cuisine around fish, grains, and vegetables, and this proved to be another huge hit with critics, indicating a new direction for first-class French cuisine.
Its award-winning pastry chef Jessica Prealpato has taken an even more radical step by applying the Ducasse philosophy to desserts.
“Desserality” means using very little sugar and ingenious concepts such as freeze-drying fruit in vinegar to bring out the flavors.
A blow to high-end gastronomy
Franck Pinay-Rabaroust, editor-in-chief of the specialized publication Atabula, says “it’s a slap in the face for man, and an earthquake for top-of-the-range French gastronomy”.
Pinay-Rabaroust goes on to suggest that Ducasse could soon wield his spatula in the kitchens of high-end rival The Ritz.
A spokesperson said that Ducasse’s “naturalness” campaign had “left its mark in the history of gastronomy”.
The movement comes as haute cuisine, like the rest of French catering, is preparing to emerge from an unprecedented hibernation caused by the Covid pandemic, the best restaurants in Western Europe robbed of their ultra-rich and globetrotting clientele.
During the pandemic, Ducasse sought to bring his cuisine to the people, offering take-out meals for just 22 euros.