GASTRONOMY – It’s the end of a reign for the luxury hotel. Alain Ducasse, the most starred French chef in the world, will be leaving the restaurant of the Parisian palace Le Plaza Athénée, which he has run since 2000 and where he has imposed the very avant-garde concept of “naturalness”.
“The partnership between Le Plaza Athénée and Alain Ducasse will not be renewed when it expires on June 30,” announced the palace, which belongs to the Dorchester Collection group. The two parties agreed not to renew their partnership, said Alain Ducasse and François Delahaye, director of operations of Dorchester Collection, in a statement to AFP.
“The three stars of the Alain Ducasse restaurant at the Plaza Athénée obtained around Naturalness and its cuisine respectful of the resources of our planet will have marked the history of haute cuisine and that of this great palace”, underline François Delahaye and Alain Ducasse.
An “earthquake” for haute cuisine
The Dorchester group, operator of nine luxury hotels belonging to the Brunei Investment Agency (BIA), will however continue its collaboration with Alain Ducasse in Meurice, in Paris (2 Michelin stars) and in London (The Dorchester, 3 stars). “We are happy to continue our cooperation at Meurice in Paris around the young chef Amaury Bouhours, as in London around Jean-Philippe Blondet. Together with their respective teams, we have great ambitions ”, indicate the two parties.
The end of their partnership at the Plaza comes in the context of the health crisis which has plunged the haute cuisine of luxury hotels into hibernation, emptied of their rich international clientele. “For man, it is a snub. For French haute cuisine, it’s an earthquake ”, estimates Franck Pinay-Rabaroust, editor-in-chief of the specialized media Atabula.
“Naturalness”, a cornerstone of French cuisine
Shortly before the reconfinement, Alain Ducasse had published “Le Grand livre de la Naturalité” which recounts the evolution of his approach, co-signed with Romain Meder and Jessica Préalpato, his pastry chef at the Plaza Athénée, and consecrated best pastry chef in the world by the prestigious British ranking 50 Best in 2019. During the health crisis, Alain Ducasse took this concept to the streets with take-out meals for an average price of 22 euros designed by Romain Meder.
The concept of “naturalness”, which banishes meat and minimizes butter, one of the cornerstones of traditional French cuisine, was conceived six years ago for the palace restaurant. This very modern kitchen was praised by critics, with some saying there was a “before and after” meal at Plaza Athénée.
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