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Left: Alain Ducasse with Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco (photo: © Stephane Danna/realis).

A CCO MMO DAT IO N

Below: Ducasse’s 240 guest chefs form the number 25 outside Le Louis XV (photo: © Christian de Brosses/ Le BeauKal.fr)

master chefs in MONACO FOR THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ACCLAIMED LOUIS XV RESTAURANT IN MONACO, CULINARY ICON ALAIN DUCASSE HOSTED A GASTRONOMIC FESTIVAL LIKE NO OTHER. BY DANA LEVY

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ince its launch in 1987, Le Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo’s Hôtel de Paris has become the food equivalent of a fireworks extravaganza: spectacular, triumphant and with a resonating cultural impact. It was Prince Rainier III of Monaco who first issued the challenge to a young Alain Ducasse, then aged 30, to create the principality’s first three Michelin-star restaurant. The catch? He wanted that rating achieved in less than four years. Ducasse chose the glorious Hôtel de Paris as his site and achieved the prince’s challenge with just three months to spare. Twenty-five years later, in an unprecedented assembly, 240 chefs from 25 countries responded to the invitation from ‘M. Ducasse’ to gather at

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the hotel for a weekend of gastronomic delights. Three Australian chefs numbered among the guests: Tetsuya Wakuda, Guillaume Brahimi and Serge Dansereau. All have a very close affinity with Ducasse. “I have known Alain for 30 years. I have always admired his respect for local produce,” said Dansereau, who hosted Australia’s first Ducasse event at his Bathers Pavillion, Sydney in 2003. It’s a sentiment shared by Tetsuya. “He is simple. His food is simple. Exquisite, but simple,” he said. Guillaume added that it is also a personal celebration for a man who is more than a former colleague or mentor. “First and foremost, Alain is a friend.” The Mediterranean market kicked proceedings off and was a highlight of the weekend.

Guests were invited to browse 25 stalls showcasing 100 types of produce from the region, which included game birds and soft goats’ milk cheeses not found on Australian shores. The fruit and vegetables were an explosion of colours: every variety of lettuce in what seemed like 50 shades of green, wild miniature strawberries, vine-ripened tomatoes and luscious olives, all for the taking and tasting. The food fest also included live cooking demonstrations from 14 acclaimed chefs. Fellow chefs clamoured to taste American chef Daniel Patterson’s white truffle baby spelt, while French pâtissier Pierre Hermé enthralled a small crowd by demonstrating how to prepare his lemon macarons. As Ducasse noted, it was a “tasting event without borders”.

Rendezvous en France 2013  

The official magazine of the French Tourist Bureau in Australia. From the grit and excitement of the Tour de France to the glamour of its ma...