Alain Ducasse Blames American Ignorance, Journalists for Benoit’s Rocky Start

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After panning Benoit, Restaurant Girl bravely sits down with Alain Ducasse, who, unsurprisingly, is less than happy about the American press. First of all, they reported the closing of his eponymous Essex House restaurant in a manner that was “simply scandalous” because they failed to note that for six years “tables were filled with loyal guests every night” and that the place closed only because it lost its lease. “We were one of the first gastronomic fine dining restaurants in New York,” Ducasse says. “We paved the way for restaurants like Per Se and chefs like Thomas Keller. Maybe when I die, people will realize what I did here.” Okay, Pete Rose. In the meantime, he wants journalists to sell folks on Benoit. “I think Americans don’t quite understand French bistro,” he says. “I think it’s the journalists. It’s their duty to educate New Yorkers about French cooking.” Kind of ironic given that Benoit is what finally made Platt throw up his arms and say, in his no-star review, that “maybe French cuisine, as we used to know it, is deader than we think.”

Q&A; With Alain Ducasse [Restaurant Girl]