A touch of Ducasse
As his new Monaco restaurant becomes an instant classic, Alain Ducasse shares his culinary and Grand Prix highlights
With 30 restaurants around the world – and 20 Michelin stars between them – Alain Ducasse is arguably one of the world’s greatest chefs.
A master of refined contemporary gastronomy, fans say he is following in the footsteps of Auguste Escoffier, the founding father of modern French cuisine.
And the latest addition to his culinary odyssey? Ômer, a delicious refuge from the rigours of retail therapy at Monaco’s new One Monte Carlo complex. Occupying the ground floor and terrace of the Hôtel de Paris Monte-carlo’s new Rotonde wing, it takes diners on a tour of the Mediterranean.
And with his world-famous Le Louis XV restaurant recently reopening, there is no sign of the 62-year-old slowing down.
We caught up with him to discover the best things to eat and drink during the Grand Prix – what he loves about the atmosphere.
You once said food at Le Louis XV is ‘the taste of the sun’. What is that exactly?
It’s the taste of the Riviera soil made of vegetables and fruit perfectly ripe, of fish caught by small boats. It is the taste of a long and rich culinary tradition. It’s the taste of an art de vivre.
The Hôtel de Paris Monte-carlo is home to one of the finest wine cellars with 400,000 bottles… how do you pick one?
I have a team of expert sommeliers, among them Noel Bajor, chef sommelier of Le Louis XV, who knows everything about these bottles. When he looks at the menu, he knows how to make the best possible pairing.
How do you juggle so many restaurants around the world? Are they like children – can you never have a favourite?
Absolutely! They all deserve the same attention. And the fact is that they all are different.
What do you love about the atmosphere during the Grand Prix in Monaco?
Vibrations! The entire city lives, thinks and breathes the Grand Prix. It is a crazy atmosphere that is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime.
And what dish would you recommend for one of your favourite drivers to eat?
The special lunch we are putting on at Le Louis XV for the Grand Prix. They will enjoy chilled courgettes with caviar, a delicate melon gelée with blue lobster and a seared piece of veal. And then they will finish their lunch with a Brittany shortbread with local raspberries.
What do you think Ômer brings to the Monaco dining scene that is so special?
Ômer offers a ( virtual) cruise in the Mediterranean. Diners embark on a unique culinary trip to its Eastern part. This area may be less well known, yet it is so rich and diverse in tastes. They also find out about the welcome which is intrinsic to these culinary traditions.
Where is your favourite place to dine during the race?
Ômer and its lavish gardens facing the circuit is one of the best places to see the race. The view of the Mediterranean and the harbour is gorgeous.
And finally, does Monaco feel like home?
Definitely. I’m always delighted to come back.