Chef Alain Ducasse’s Plaza Athenee Paris innings draws to a close

The French chef, renowned for his unique ‘Naturalness’ movement and recipient of 21 Michelin stars, will continue his association with the Dorchester Collection, owner of Plaza Athenee, at other restaurants in Paris and London.

Alain Ducasse, the French chef with the highest number of Michelin stars in the world, is set to end his innings at the Paris restaurant of Hotel Plaza Athenee, owned by the Dorchester Collection group. Ducasse has been associated with the restaurant for over two decades, and it was the place where he came up with his unique cuisine concept of ‘Naturalness’.

Alain ducasse
Chef Alain Ducasse’s exit from Plaza Athenee will not affect his relationship with Dorchester Collection as he will continue to associate with the group at other restaurants in Paris and London.

However, Ducasse’s exit from Plaza Athenee will not impact his other associations with the Dorchester Collection, in Paris with Le Meurice Alain Ducasse and in London with the three Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester.

Ducasse said, “We are delighted to continue our close relationship with Dorchester Collection. We have ambitious plans both in Paris at Le Meurice with executive chef Amaury Bouhours and in London with executive chef Jean-Philippe Blondet.”

Naturalness was one of the most significant contributions by the chef during his time at Plaza Athenee. The approach broke new ground and in fact, paved a new direction for French cuisine. At the beginning, the approach was deemed as radical, as Ducasse rejected two ingredients considered virtually indispensable to French cuisine. Instead, he engineered his cuisine around the trilogy of fish, grain and vegetables; designed to be more in tune with nature and better for health too. The concept focuses on the quality of produce, being respectful of the producer and the planet’s resources.

Plaza athenee
Ducasse spent over two decades at the restaurant in Plaza Athenee and it was here that he came up with his unique cuisine concept of ‘Naturalness’.
Image courtesy Dorchester Collection

“To eat more healthily and naturally is today both an expectation and a necessity that must be translated into the field of haute cuisine. Exceptional produce expressing their simplicity, a technique which has the elegance to take a step back to their benefit. This is the cuisine I sincerely love. Cuisine of Naturalness, released, freed,” says Ducasse of Naturalness.

Naturalness was well received by critics, and Ducasse’s award-winning pastry chef Jessica Prealpato applied the concept to desserts as well, using very little sugar and techniques such as freeze-drying fruits in vinegar to draw out their flavours.

Last year, when lockdowns shuttered restaurants across the world, Ducasse, in association with entrepreneur Nicolas Camart, had launched Naturaliste, a new model of sustainable catering in Paris. The delivery service offered anti-waste and vegetable-based cuisine inspired by the concept of Naturalness, using produce from local farms and compostable packaging.

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