lain Ducasse (b. 13 September 1956 on a farm in Castel-Sarrazin in southwestern France) is a Monégasque chef. He formerly held French nationality. He operates an eponymous restaurant at the Plaza Athénée in Paris. Until the closure of his New York restaurant at the Essex House hotel, he held three stars (the top ranking) in the Michelin Guide. In January 2007 he took the position as chef of the Jules Verne Restaurant located in the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
In 1972, when he was sixteen, Ducasse began an apprenticeship at the Pavillon Landais restaurant in Soustons and at the Bordeaux hotel school. After this apprenticeship, he began work at Michel Guérard’s restaurant in Eugénie-les-Bains while also working for Gaston Lenôtre during the summer months. In 1977, Ducasse started working as an assistant at Moulin de Mougins under legendary chef Roger Vergé, creator of Cuisine du Soleil, and learned the Provençal cooking methods for which he was later known.
Ducasse's first position as chef came in 1980 when he took over the kitchens at L’amandier in Eugène Mougin. One year later, he assumed the position of head chef at La Terrasse in the Hôtel Juana in Juan-les-Pins. In 1984, he was awarded two stars in the Michelin Red Guide. In that same year, Ducasse was the only survivor of a Learjet crash that nearly took his life.
Career as chef
In 1987, Ducasse was offered the Chef position at the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo, with management including the hotel's Le Louis XV. After assuring himself that the Hotel's other restaurant operations were operating well, Ducasse gave up management of all but the Le Louis XV restaurant.
In 1988, Ducasse expanded beyond the restaurant industry and opened La Bastide de Moustiers, a twelve-bedroom country inn in Provence and he began attaining financial interests in other Provence hotels. On 12 August 1996, the Alain Ducasse restaurant opened in Le Parc – Sofitel Demeure Hôtels in the XVIe arrondissement (16th district) of Paris, France. The Red Guide awarded the restaurant three stars just eight months after opening.
Ducasse came to the United States and in June 2000 opened the Alain Ducasse restaurant in New York City's Essex House hotel at 160 Central Park South, receiving the Red Guide's three stars in December 2001. That restaurant closed in 2007. In early 2008, Ducasse opened Adour, at the St. Regis Hotel on 16th and K street in Washington, DC, and has also opened a more casual Bistro Benoit New York, at 60 West 55th Street.
Ducasse became the first chef to own restaurants carrying three Michelin Stars in three cities. The New York restaurant was dropped from the 2007 Michelin Guide because the restaurant was scheduled to close. Ducasse has become known through his writing and influences.
The Alain Ducasse Group of restaurants, inns, cooking schools, cookbooks, and consulting activities had revenues of $15.9 million in 2002 and employs approximately 1400 people (in 2006). Since that time, Ducasse has been expanding his reach. Alain Ducasse has also opened a cooking school for the general public in Paris and another for chefs (ADF), which also works for the European Space Agency to develop astronaut meals to be taken into space. Ducasse has also authored numerous books, with the most famous being Alain Ducasse Culinary Encyclopedia.