Brash, driven, and dazzlingly inventive, fourteen-star chef Alain Ducasse is a larger-than-life figure. At thirty-three, he was the youngest chef ever to be awarded three Michelin stars; and in 2005 he became the first chef in the world to win three stars for three restaurants, with a staggering total of fourteen stars spread across eight restaurants in three countries. He has mentored a generation of younger chefs who have introduced his cooking around the world and he has, quite simply, changed the face of traditional French cooking.
In this, his first American cookbook, M. Ducasse shares the principles and techniques of his uniquely elemental cuisine. At its core are clarity of taste, precision in execution, and respect for the food itself, which to Ducasse means retaining its essential flavor. That respect for true taste results in a multitude of simple but striking techniques. Ducasse uses as much of each ingredient as he can—the skins, the shells, the baking juices, the pan drippings, the heads, the cooking broth, all the by-products of the process—in order to capture the truest taste. He incorporates different preparations of the same ingredient into a given dish, each revealing an individual aspect of its flavor—sliced raw artichokes, braised whole artichokes, and paper-thin slices of fried artichoke, for example, might be featured together. The brilliance of his food—apparent in recipes made with no more than two ingredients enhanced by a simple aromatic element, with seasoning reduced to a few grains of salt—explains why he is "the country's star chef" (Wine Spectator) and "the Escoffier of our time" (Le Point).
Ducasse Flavors of France documents, in more than one hundred lavishly photographed recipes, the influences—Mediterranean, Provençal, and classical French—that permeate this extaordinary cuisine. Many of the recipes are simple, others complex, but all can be perfectly accomplished with a little time and patience.With its "alluringly simple dishes, like buttery fork-mashed potatoes, peppered slices of sauteed pumpkin, swordfish with citrus, exquisite chocolate tartlets, and a homey pear and honey cake made with big chunks of pear" (The New York Times), this is the most accessible Ducasse cookbook published. Yet there are still recipes to challenge ambitious cooks and great tips that will make all cooks better in the kitchen.
about Linda Dannenberg
Linda Dannenberg, a contributor to Town & Country, The Los Angeles Times, and Wine Spectator, has worked with and written about many of France’s great chefs and bakers. Her love for the art of French cooking finds expression in her numerous books, among them Paris Boulangerie-Patisserie, Paris Bistro Cooking, and French Tarts.
When offered the position of chef de cuisine at the Louis XV in the Hôtel de Paris in Monte-Carlo, not only did Alain Ducasse accept the challenge, but he also committed himself by contract to obtaining three Michelin stars within four years. He beat his own deadline, then went on to receive three stars for his flagship New York and Paris restaurants. At present he has 14 Michelin stars.
Pierre Houssenot is a Paris-based photographer who specializes in culinary subjects. His credits include Roger Vergé's New Entertaining in the French Style and France, The Beautiful Cookbook. His work appears regularly in such international magazines as Elle and Marie Claire.