Alain Ducasse welcoming chefs back to 'the country of taste and excellence.'
Photo: Courtesy of Louis XV
A legion of 240 of the world’s best chefs, representing 25 countries and boasting 300 Michelin stars among them, are all flying to Monaco this week for an unprecedented summit and celebration in honor of the 25th anniversary of Alain Ducasse opening his restaurant Louis XV. And among those who could not refuse the invitation to go and cook for Ducasse and hob nob with Europe’s great chefs are San Francisco’s own Daniel Patterson (Coi), David Kinch (Manresa), and L.A.’s Wolfgang Puck. The summit takes place from November 16 to 19, and we know at least that Patterson will be cooking.
In conceiving of the event, Ducasse frames it almost as a culinary homecoming, positing the Riviera as the heart of everything he holds dear. “The themes dearest to me are related to the Mediterranean, deeply rooted in the South, to the Riviera whose produce occupy a fundamental place in my culinary creations. … Themes related to travel and seasons, identifying tradition and evolution, returning on harmony and memory. The 25th anniversary of the Louis XV then appeared to me as a unique opportunity to gather around these values the worlds’ greatest culinary talents for a stroll through the ‘country’ of taste and excellence.” So, right, France is the country of taste and excellence. We get it.
Ducasse is considered a living legend and the spiritual godfather of many of today’s chefs — the press release for the event even refers to a large segment of the attendees as part of the “Ducasse Generation” of chefs. Louis XV, the Michelin three-star restaurant in the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, was where Ducasse made his name a quarter century ago, before coming to the U.S. to open Alain Ducasse at the Essex House (now closed), and his Las Vegas restaurant Mix. He now also owns Le Jules Verne, the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower in Paris; Beige Alain Ducasse Tokyo; Spoon by Alain Ducasse in Hong Kong; Benoit Tokyo; and Benoit in New York; as well as a collection of other smaller restaurants around France.
It should be noted that in discussing his plans for the new Saison, chef Joshua Skenes cited the luxury and integrated service style (with chefs delivering dishes in the dining room) of Louis XV as inspiration.
The event will include a gala dinner, tastings, demos, and a huge outdoor market, as well as the poppings of thousands of corks. Several weeks back, during Magnus Nilsson’s visit (Nilsson will also be among the chefs at Ducasse’s summit), Daniel Patterson shared with us a dish he was developing for the occasion. Chefs are being asked to use produce from the south of France typically found on menus at Louis XV, and thus Patterson was tasked with working with something he would not normally feature at Coi: white truffle. The dish involved a farro risotto with wheatgrass and truffle, as he was trying to bring out the similar flavor notes of wheatgrass and the prized fungus.
See the full press release about the event, with the entire list of chefs, here. Below, see Ducasse talking about the anniversary, and showing off the lavish hotel where it will take place.