Alain Ducasse discusses changing kitchen culture

Alain Ducasse cookbookAlain Ducasse is a legendary chef and restaurateur. He has amassed a total of 20 Michelin stars in his far-flung restaurant empire that spans seven countries, has written several cookbooks, and has even devised a menu for the international space station. Recently he discussed a series of topics with young chef Laoise Casey.


As you would expect, Ducasse doesn't spend much time in the kitchens of his many restaurants, something that has garnered criticism in the industry. But he dismisses the critics by saying that he had planned to get out of the kitchen long ago following a plane crash in which he was the only survivor. he had plans to get out of the kitchen by the time he was 28, following a plane crash in the French Alps, of which he was the sole survivor. "The pain and suffering I endured turned out to be a starting point in the way I envisaged my work as a chef," he says. After his recovery, he delegated the cooking to his chefs, which he says allowed his to see the possibility of running more than one high-end restaurant at a time.


When asked about his view of women in chef roles traditionally held by men, Ducasse responded with praise for his own female staff members: "Two of my head chefs are female. Laetitia Rouabah at Allard, perpetuates the legacy of Marthe Allard - a 'mother cook' who founded the restaurant in 1932 - and brings it up to date aptly. At the helm of Benoit, one of the last authentic Parisian bistros, we have Fabienne Eymard. Both maintain the traditions and bring their touches to those places." Ducasse has also established a program to encourage women to enter the profession. 

The article explores other subjects with the 59-year-old chef, including how he stays motivated and his plans for the future. When asked when he might stop, he smiles and says, "I guess I will keep doing this for as long as I can." 

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