Top chef accuses media of ignoring French innovation

Alain Ducasse, the famous chef behind some of the world's top French restaurants, on Monday accused media of falsely peddling the perception that French cuisine has been left behind by other, newer offerings.

"The media only speak of Spain, of English-speaking countries, saying 'That's it, the renewal is coming from abroad.' That's not true. The renewal is in France," he complained to a media conference in Brazil.

"Maybe the problem for us, for the French, is that we don't have the media we deserve -- they don't highlight enough what we are doing in our country so that other countries sit up and take notice," he said.

Far from sitting on their laurels and being locked into unchanging recipes, French chefs of all ages are building on the traditions of French cooking to come up with spectacular and novel dishes, Ducasse argued.

"There are cooks 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 years old, and older, who keep challenging themselves every day. And French cuisine has never been so contemporary," he said.

Ducasse, who notably runs the kitchen of the Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower and the Plaza Athenee hotel's eatery in Paris, as well as top-notch establishments in New York, London, Tokyo and elsewhere, was in Sao Paulo to promote Brazil's most prestigious gourmet cooking event.

The week-long, Semana Mesa SP had attracted more than 20 foreign chefs, most of them French.

The highlight of the event was an evening when some of the world's top chefs were to cook a sublime, multi-course meal for members of Brazil's well-heeled class, each of whom had paid upwards of 3,000 dollars for the privilege.

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