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He now heads up 30 restaurants in seven countries, but it was in Monaco that Alain Ducasse revealed himself to the world as a major figure on the global fine dining scene.

Having started in the kitchens at the Louis XV in 1987, he won three Michelin stars in barely three years: an unprecedented performance by a hotel restaurant.

“Monaco is my home base”
 Read Alain Ducasse's interview

His dishes are inspired by a quest for simplicity and excellence, and a love of produce and nature. The legendary ‘Provence garden vegetables cooked with black truffle’ served at the Louis XV is a delicious example of this approach.

Some of his other creations developed in Monte-Carlo have also become renowned, including ‘Gamberoni from San Remo, rock fish gelée, caviar’, ‘Mediterranean bass, focaccia, mint and lemon from Menton’ and ‘Fire-roasted lamb and cos lettuce, artichokes, blackcurrants’.

© Monte-Carlo SBM
© Monte-Carlo SBM

In 2019, Alain Ducasse opened a second restaurant in Monaco: Ômer. Located in the Rotonde wing of the Hotel de Paris, on the garden level, the restaurant also draws inspiration from the Mediterranean.

The marriage of fresh products, traditional recipes and local flavours produces a sunny, bright cuisine.

The new restaurant features a dining room designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon. The generous use of wood, light-coloured leather and brushed bronze creates the feel of a classic yacht.

After all, what could be better for exploring the 1,001 culinary delights of the Mediterranean than a sailing boat?

© Monte-Carlo SBM
© Monte-Carlo SBM

I am always dazzled by the light of the Mediterranean which greets me in Monaco. It is a unique place, at the meeting point of the French and Italian rivieras; a very welcome moment of calm in an extremely busy life.

Alain Ducasse

Interview

“Monaco is my home base”

Alain Ducasse is one of the greatest chefs in the world, with 20 Michelin stars and more than 70 restaurants in seven different countries across three continents. The Monegasque chef discusses his unique link to Monaco.

What does Monaco mean to you?

It’s a unique, significant and irreplaceable part of my life. It is thanks to the confidence shown in me first by H.S.H. Prince Rainier III and then by H.S.H. Prince Albert II that I was able to express my own vision of food.

It was in Monaco that I encountered the land of the Riviera, which has so strongly and lastingly inspired me. It is in Monaco that I recharge my batteries after travelling the world. Monaco is my home base, it’s here that I’ve planted my roots.

You’ve always promoted produce-based cuisine with a strong focus on plants. Why is that?

It all began in Monaco, actually. More precisely, it dates back to 27 May 1987, the day the Louis XV restaurant was opened at the Hotel de Paris. I offered a vegetarian menu, Les Jardins de Provence (The Gardens of Provence). At the time, it was a decision that surprised many people: no one had ever dared to put an entirely vegetarian dish on the menu of a Michelin-starred restaurant. But for me, it was the natural thing to do.

First because it was reminiscent of the way I ate as a child, on the family farm where I grew up. When she was preparing meals, my grandmother would send me out to the vegetable garden. I’d collect all the vegetables that had ripened and she’d cook them. It was nature that determined what was on the menu.

Then, because the land in the Riviera provides us with absolutely amazing produce. Nature can sometimes be harsh here, the soil is not always easy to work, but the taste of the produce is unique. It’s this authentic taste, this original taste, that I celebrate in these vegetarian dishes. And behind this culinary bias lies a broader conviction: we need to learn – or relearn – to eat healthily while using the resources nature offers us sparingly.

Do chefs have a role to play in protecting the environment and in highlighting local suppliers?

Chefs have an important responsibility. When it comes to customers, it is up to chefs to show that it is possible to eat more healthily without detracting from the enjoyment of a meal. Chefs also have a responsibility to their suppliers. They should promote suppliers who respect the planet: market gardeners and farmers who work the land with care, fishers who catch seafood without irresponsibly exhausting stocks. It’s all connected: eating more healthily means eating more responsibly, with regard to both producers and nature. The chef’s challenge is to make sure that this virtuous circle is flavourful.

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