Fine Living | Diary of a Somebody

Alain Ducasse

The chef-restaurateur on the tart that failed the taste test

Alain Ducasse

October 10 2011
Alain Ducasse

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

I left L’Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle today at dawn and drove directly to Le Louis XV, my restaurant of l’Hôtel de Paris in Monaco. Franck Cerutti, executive chef, Dominique Lory, chef de cuisine and Nicolas Cailleaud, the pastry chef, were setting up for a tasting session. I sat in L’Aquarium, the tiny dining room located at the heart of the kitchen, and the dishes started to arrive. We were checking the presentation and temperature. Then a first bite – slowly, letting the taste buds recognise each and every nuance. Is the cooking time right? What about the balance of ingredients? A second bite and I asked for some adjustments – baking a few minutes less, a more concentrated dressing. Franck and Dominique are nodding, very focused. Next dish, same scanning. We spent almost two hours reviewing the five dishes.

Then came the dessert: a tart of roasted fruits. “Too sweet.” I asked Nicolas to drastically reduce the quantity of added sugar and concentrate on the natural sugar of the fruits. As a result, he re-thought completely his dish into a colorful mix of roasted fruit, milk ice cream and chestnut mikados. A perfect balance! By nature, pastry is sweet. However, I believe that we have to give our customers a tasty yet healthier food. Reducing sugar, salt and fat is mandatory.

I then called Gérard Rinaldi, the last fisherman of Monaco. He was back from fishing and his trawler is berthed in Monaco harbour among the super-yachts. In July, he provided me with the fish I prepared for the wedding of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene. Such a fantastic experience and great privilege.

I then went to the Club des Résidents Etrangers à Monaco (Club of Foreign Residents in Monaco) to present my latest book, J’aime Monaco, about my favourite Mediterranean addresses that I wanted to share, including restaurants, hotels, craftsmen, boutiques, etc. The talk was informal and the audience very interested. We moved from the book to many other subjects, touching cooking, products, food trends and environment.

It’s time now to fly back to Paris. It has been a busy week and I am really looking forward to spending some time with my family…

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