Home > 20 Questions

Alain Ducasse

Famed chef Alain Ducasse—he holds 21 Michelin stars and was the first to have three-star restaurants in three cities at once—is about to expand his empire

Illustration by Graham Smith

This fall he opens Rivea and Skyfall Lounge, a restaurant and nightclub inspired by the Riviera, at the top of the Delano Las Vegas. Ducasse now has 24 restaurants in cities including London, Paris, Tokyo and New York.

  • 01 What are you reading? The proof sheets of my next book Naturalité, which illustrates the cuisine of my restaurant at the Plaza Athénée in Paris.
  • 02 What is your favorite city in the U.S.? The U.S. offers such an array of exciting cities that I can’t pick just one!
  • 03 Internationally? What I just said about the diversity in the States is even more true on a global scale.
  • 04 How many days a year do you travel? Honestly, I don’t count. I can only say that I frequently visit all of my restaurants to ensure they offer my clients the level of excellence they expect.
  • 05 Do you fly private or commercial? I always fly commercial.
  • 06 What do you never travel without? An empty suitcase to bring home objects and books.
  • 07 Wine, beer or spirits? I prefer wines, which are really part of the French way of dining.
  • 08 What is your favorite meal? The ones I have with my wife and my kids.
  • 09 Outside of your own, what is your favorite restaurant? In the last 30 years, I have probably visited thousands of restaurants. I consider my role is not to rank them yet to chase the diversity of talents and tastes.
  • 10 What is the worst mistake you’ve made in business? I like to refer to myself as a chef, rather than a businessman.
  • 11 What is your favorite movie? The Hundred-Foot Journey, directed by Lasse Hallström, which shows that cuisine is a great way of bonding cultures.
  • 12 What brand of watch do you wear? I wear a Richard Mille.
  • 13 Who is your favorite designer? Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku. I also appreciate a lot Philippe Starck, Pierre-Yves Rochon and Bruno Moinard.
  • 14 What do you drive? A hybrid car.
  • 15 What’s the biggest challenge you’ve over come? To invent a new way of being a chef after having survived an airplane crash. [In 1984,Ducasse was the only survivor of a twin-engine plane crash.]
  • 16 What keeps you up at night? Nothing, since I entirely trust the team who is working around me.
  • 17 What is your favorite philanthropy? To make cooking a potent actor for saving the planet.
  • 18 What is the best advice you’ve ever received? When [chef]Alain Chapel told me that cuisine is much more than recipes.
  • 19 What is your worst habit? My collaborators would answer that it is my obsession for checking each and every detail. I personally believe that, in fact, this is a very good habit.
  • 20 How would you like to be remembered? I try to focus on today.

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2015 issue of Worth.

Related Articles