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The Five Commandments Of *Haute Cuisine* By The Most Decorated Chef In The World

Alain Ducasse's secret recipe for success
Alain Ducasse's secret recipe for success
Dorane Vignando

SAINT-TROPEZ – Star, entrepreneur, chef, and the most decorated cook in the world, Alain Ducasse always has a place to be. He’s perpetually traveling around the world from one of his restaurants to another: from Paris to Tokyo, from Abu Dhabi to Las Vegas, he’s always curious to see where the flavors will take him.

We met him last week in Saint-Tropez for the opening of his brand-spanking new restaurant Rivea (replacing Spoon, which had previously occupied the space) inside the glamorous and iconic hotel, Le Byblos.

With décor by Italian duo Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel and a new menu, inspirations have been drawn from both land and sea. The myriad of antipasti includes Italian salumi products, reef octopus, candied sardines, small pizzas know as pizzette, and prosciutto from Massimo "The Culatello King" Spigaroli himself -- now, how about that?!

Thirty thriving restaurants later and Ducasse reveals to us five of his secrets to success:

“Hospitality is an art. You can only reach perfection if you shape the premises in your own image. Nothing comes close to those country inns that are also people’s homes. You will never forget your stay.”

“It’s an infinite source of inspiration for a cook. The only source, really. I’m forever bedazzled by it. Everything pleases me, from the color of an eggplant to the shimmering scales of a red mullet.”

Bare essentials
“Take away what isn’t necessary. Too many ingredients will confuse the flavors. Too many items on the table, too much ceremony… Keep it to the basics: true taste, true texture, true color.”

“The right technique. The right cooking time. The right seasoning. Being right comes gradually, from great discipline and lots of practice. Maybe that’s what the artists are all after. For a cook, at any rate, it’s a constant obsession.”

Sharing is enriching. Don't keep anything just for yourself. The time for secret recipes and personal tricks has been over for a long time. I share everything I know and I expect everyone in my team to do the same.”

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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