In the newspaper Le Monde, on April 22, Alain Ducasse, “chef cuisinier, president of the Ducasse group”, published a column in which he expressed a preference for an enlightened vision of French cuisine and considered that it is kept afloat. a guilty passivity. Atabula deciphers this highly questionable speech.
It has been two years since he published a forum, an eternity for the Monegasque leader who loves to embody the profession and still dreams of leadership. Except that in April 2020, he had mischievously set foot on the carpet with a so-called collective forum, published in the Figaro. Entitled “Mr. President, the chefs are asking you to reopen the restaurants!” ”, It was signed by 17 chefs of the Collège Culinaire de France. Except that most signatories discovered the grandstand by reading the duck on the right with the little morning coffee. The bronze was huge and Alain Ducasse was compared to a “dictator” with a few CCF chiefs. Since then, the Monegasque has been low profile and has never spoken publicly again, except to defend his direct interests. It should be noted that this new forum is signed by Alain Ducasse alone, without any reference to the CCF, which is never even mentioned in the text.
Presidential context (and pretext)
“As two political visions of France clash in the last days of the election campaign, I mean my preference for an enlightened view of French and French cuisine,” wrote Alain Ducasse. Twice in the forum, he refers to the presidential context, without ever going into the slightest programmatic detail, without ever quoting Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen. Apart from this “preference for an enlightened vision of French cuisine”, Alain Ducasse has never clearly taken a position in the political choice. One can only regret that a personality like Alain Ducasse is content with such a politically lukewarm text, when he should have recalled two truths: first, the proactive economic policy of the current President of the Republic in favor of catering industry during the crisis and then that restaurateurs have, according to some studies (especially union), voted en masse for the National Rally in the first round. Recall that Emmanuel Macron twice quoted restaurateurs in the debate between him and Marine Le Pen between the two rounds; the latter never talks about it. That the restoration votes overwhelmingly on the far right is a theme (among others) that Alain Ducasse should have taken as a “front”, rather than being overwhelmed by his personal torments.
The Plaza and Jean Imbert: the enemies of French cuisine according to Alain Ducasse
Of course, he never quotes them but they are ubiquitous, on every line of this tribune. From the outset, the former chief consultant attacks: “Culinary France and political France today seem to me to look more to the past than to the future, as if our cuisine seemed destined to return to the recipes of yesteryear.” . It is difficult to be clearer for those who know the resentment of Alain Ducasse following the loss of the kitchens of the Plaza Athénée. Its progressive naturalness was replaced by Jean Imbert’s patrimonial cuisine, it was the Middle Ages that replaced the Renaissance, it was the Restoration that succeeded the French Revolution. In short, an indigestible culinary blasphemy for the Monegasque who needs to scream at his head in hopes of getting better… Wouldn’t Alain Ducasse have confused public forum and personal therapy? Rather than take the pen straight in his boots, he should have lay down.
What future program does Alain Ducasse claim?
“French cuisine must regain a taste for audacity,” is Alain Ducasse’s basic postulate. Already, it would have to be proven that she lost it. Is it because a few tables, including the Plaza, which embodies the trend in the media, are returning to Auguste Escoffier’s kitchen? Even for the author of the forum, this postulate does not hold the road. A few lines after judging the passéist hexagonal cuisine, he hammers that “French cuisine (him) appears to be more multiple, more relevant than in many eras of (its) rich gastronomic history. She (he) seems perfectly suited to these modern times that force us to be ever more agile… »Difficult to interpret Ducassian thought! Can’t it be simpler to explain that our kitchen is multiple, from Dubarry’s potage and from Jean Imbert’s Bellevue to … Alain Ducasse’s new concept of vegetable burger (sic)? Isn’t the strength of a kitchen based on its ability to constantly revive its roots to better grow all its branches and blossom all its buds? And, honestly, is Alain Ducasse best placed to criticize Escoffier’s cuisine when, at Versailles, he proposes “great dinners as in the time of the kings”? Man is no longer close to a paradox.
It remains to be seen what Alain Ducasse actually proposes in the gallery. Aside from contrasting two culinary France that actually complement each other, there is nothing or so little. Referring to the architect Jean Nouvel or Filippo Marinetti and his Manifesto of Futuristic Cuisine (1932) is pretty on paper, but after ?! “The analogy is very relevant to me, so much so that I assume this connection between politics and cooking,” said the Monegasque, referring to Marinetti. But who doesn’t take it today? As he recalls, this Manifesto was written 90 years ago… Since then, the world has changed and no one disputes this link between gastronomy and politics, certainly not the new generation. Speaking of futurists like this, Alain Ducasse places himself as a man of the past, some will say passive. As for his reference to Admo, which he indirectly compares to Filippo Marinetti’s futuristic cuisine, one has to smile better: this ephemeral concept developed in Paris was a total failure, and there are only those who have were invited by the owner of the place who thinks otherwise.
Why such a forum?
Yes, why such a speech. After very delicate months – the history of the false collective forum, the loss of the Plaza and its delicate position within the Dorchester Collection, the distrust of the CCF, its desire to leave the operational in an email addressed to the main executives of his group, etc. – It’s as if Alain Ducasse wants to return to the arena and power games. If he never ceased to be very active in the shadows, he regained the media spotlight on the occasion of the presidential election. This is obviously not a coincidence. What is he really looking for? A very ephemeral baroud of honor? A Moroccan in the future government? An influential position to rethink the culinary world of tomorrow? What is certain is that he seeks to reposition himself in the post-presidential political and culinary debate. It remains to be seen whether this is a matter of visionary audacity or political passivity.
The contents of the Futuristic Kitchen Manifesto
In his gallery, Alain Ducasse talks about the Manifesto of futuristic cuisine. Here are the main proposals:
. Original harmony of the table (glassware – decorated dishes) with the flavors and colors of the food.
. Absolute originality of food.
. The original harmony between shape and color that nourishes the eyes and excites the fantasy before tempting the lips.
. The abolition of the fork and the knife.
. Using the art of perfumes to facilitate tasting.
. Limited use of music during intervals between les mets.
. The abolition of eloquence and politics at the table.
. The measured use of poetry and music as improvised ingredients.
. The quick presentation, between two meals and under the nostrils and eyes of the guests of some dishes they will eat and others they will not eat.
. Creating simultaneous and changeable bouche containing dix, vingt saveurs à goûter in a few moments.
. Equip the kitchen with scientific instruments.
Open crisis among chefs after the publication of the Tribune du Collège Culinaire de France
Alain Ducasse and the Plaza Athénée: investigation into a painful separation
Jean Imbert at the Plaza: Critical Decryption of Criticism
“I came to say goodbye to you,” Alain Ducasse said as he left the Plaza Athenaeum
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