Monday, December 15, 2008

Alain Ducasse, Hélène Darroze, Yannick Alléno: Good Eats

If you happen to be one of a handful of chefs in the world, lucky enough and talented enough to rule the domain of haute cuisine in Paris, your standards, I would think, should be pretty high.  What with the long and illustrious history behind French cuisine and their sometime overbearing smugness regarding the quality of said cuisine (an arguable point indeed) these chefs certainly are under the gun to perform day in and day out, consistently creating dishes that make patron's mouths dance in sensory happiness.  The pressure to earn a coveted Michelin star and maintain that status year in and year out is incredible, leading some to suicide at the loss of this dining 'Oscar'.  It's all about the perfect performance and to have that taken away can be devastating. 

So when it's time for these culinary stars go out to dine in their city, where do they go?  Very good question indeed.  If I were going to put a list together of restaurants/cafés I might want to dine at on a visit to Paris,  picking their brains to find out where, other than their establishments of course, seems like a great starting point.  I have found just that information to pass along to you.  

Alain Ducasse:  Over seeing operations at Plaza Athenée Restaurant, Louis XV in Monaco, Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and recently adding Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester in London, this gentleman knows a good meal when he prepares it.  Let's dine with him at:  
  • L'Assiette--for a weeknight dinner with good friends
  • Café Constant--for a Sunday lunch, Christian Constant will serve up a great meal at any one of his restaurants.
  • Hôtel de Crillon--enjoy their elegant Sunday brunch for special moments.  Wait, shouldn't being in Paris be enough of a reason? Absolutely.

Hélène Darroze:  Born in the southwest of France, Ms Darroze has cooking in her blood with great grand-parents opening a family inn and restaurant that was all she knew growing up.  She apprenticed with Monsieur Ducasse at Louis XV in Monaco and with his encouragement started down the path to her cooking destiny.  Few women have been as successful in this highly competitive art and I for one take my hat off to all that she has accomplished.  Where does she go to unwind?
  • L'Absinthe--for a meal with friends. 
  • Mori Venice Bar--one of her favorite Italian spots.  The setting is too beautiful for words.
  • Coffee Parisien, 4, rue Princesse, VIe.  If French food just becomes all too much for you, a burger and fries awaits.  

Yannick Alléno:  Monsier Alléno made my list for two reasons; he is the chef at Le Meurice and he looks adorable.  Oh, and he has three Michelin stars credited to his name so I'm thinking he knows what he talks about.  If you are in Paris, I'd suggest starting with a meal prepared at his illustrious restaurant and go from there.  Ooh la la--what a way to begin! But let's see where he likes to dine when he isn't busy cooking in one of the world's most fabulous kitchens.  
  • Café Moderne--good eats for not as much euros as some.
  • L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon--sitting at a bar will never be the same again!  
  • Guilo-Guilo--the French love Japanese food, as do all the Japanese tourists. This 2008 arrival on the food scene is another bar with the chef working his wonders right before your very eyes!  Think Benihana of Paris.  
OK people, I did my work now you are left on your own to do yours.  Take this little list and start crossing off entries. Feel the wonderful sense of accomplishment as you go through this dining marathon.  Feel less euros in your wallet and more junk in your trunk perhaps but, oh,'s Paris after all.  

Additional Information:  Les cantines des grands cuisiniers
Photo credit:


My Castle in Spain said...

Hello Kim,
and i'm so delighted to find you !
how could i resist a blog which loves France !
i go back to Paris occasionally and always think i should go and try Hélène Darroze's cuisine.

Kim said...

Yeah! A new acquaintance. Welcome. I look forward to seeing you here and at My Castle in Spain. Granada is a close second to Paris in my books.