Meet Chef Alain Ducasse of Le Grand Contrôle

Chef Alain Ducasse’s inspirations at the helm of the Michelin-starred restaurant at Grand Contrôle.

Your 'Proust madeleine'?

The tastes of my childhood. Even today, they remain the yardstick of my judgment. These memories are flavors and smells, like the roast chicken my grandmother used to make every Sunday. They are also actions, like the ones I performed when I used to pick vegetables in the garden. In short, they are the tastes of nature: one must never forget that before cuisine, there is nature.

Your definition of a restaurant?

A restaurant is a place where one eats. Does this definition seem obvious? Absolutely not! When I say it’s a place where one eats, I evoke the concept of commensality. Eating is a social and cultural act. Sitting down to eat is sharing a moment of exchange. It’s entering a happy parenthesis. The table is the most civilized place in the world.

A dinner like an artwork?

The royal dinner at my restaurant at Le Grand Contrôle, Versailles. It’s probably one of the most splendid examples one can imagine. Everything about it is exceptional: the beautifully renovated setting, the view of the Orangery of the palace, the ambiance with the staff in period costumes, and of course, the cuisine showcasing the talents of Chef Stéphane Duchiron and Chef Pâtissier Aymeric Pinard. The dinner unfolds in five courses, inspired by the ‘services’ that followed one another during the royal era. No one can resist the charm of this truly timeless moment.

LGC Dejeuner 1 2
LGC Restaurant LArriere Cabinet
LGC Dejeuner Plats 2

The product you prefer to work with?

Local and seasonal produce. As a chef, we all appreciate ingredients as long as they come from environmentally friendly agriculture. That said, I have a particular fondness for vegetables. They express the truth of a region, and we love the authenticity of their taste. It’s that authenticity that inspires the recipes.

One must never forget that before cooking, there is nature.

How does the opulent era of Versailles inspire you?

It inspired me to create the Grand Contrôle restaurant! Everything is there: the decor, the costumes, the lighting, the music. But it’s certainly not a copy. To be honest, no one would want to recreate a meal identical to those of the past today – it would be too long and too heavy. However, Versailles is a tremendous inspiration. The Grand Contrôle restaurant offers an ‘in the style of’ experience, which is a contemporary reinterpretation of the spirit of those bygone meals.

What are the innovations to look out for at Ducasse?

I could tell you about the fantastic work done by my young chefs, this ‘Naturalité Generation’ that interprets a cuisine that is more respectful of nature in a very personal and contemporary way. But I also want to mention our great chocolate manufacturing adventure. We are currently expanding across Europe and building an excellent reception. We have truly invented a different approach to chocolate, with distinct and new flavors.

Dejeuner Plats 6
Portrait Alain Ducasse

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