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.”
“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.”