My life in travel: Alain Ducasse

‘Everything I didn’t learn in the kitchen, I discovered by travelling the world’

First holiday memory?

During the early years of my career, holidays were a nice concept but not a reality. The first trips I enjoyed were when I was working at Le Louis XV in Monaco. I was in my early thirties and used to explore Provence on my motorcycle.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

It may sound desperately banal, but London. I love walking around Billingsgate or Borough markets, having a bite to eat from the stalls. I’m also an avid collector of luggage, so I frequently visit Bentleys Antiques in Knightsbridge, which has gorgeous pieces.

Best holiday?

Short breaks with my wife and children in our country house in the French Basque Country. I love the shifting light and colours of the landscape in that region.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Everything I didn’t learn in kitchen I discovered by travelling the world. It’s one of my major sources of inspiration, an opportunity to meet colleagues and producers, and to taste new products and recipes.

Ideal travelling companion?

Empty luggage – so I can bring home everything I fall in love with on the road. Japan is where I’m the most tempted. When I’m in Tokyo or Kyoto, I usually find tableware that’s incredibly refined and elegant, made by talented craftsmen. Some are now in my restaurant in the Plaza Athénée in Paris.

Beach bum, culture vulture or  adrenalin junkie?

Cuisine addict. I taste everything considered edible from all the culinary cultures in the world – animal or vegetable, raw or cooked.

Greatest travel luxury?

A smooth trip. Having a holiday where the departure and arrival is on time, and the hotel room is exactly as you booked it, tends to be an exception rather than the routine these days.

Holiday reading?

The press. When getting ready for a holiday, I pack all the magazines and newspapers I haven’t had time to read in my luggage. I’ll also buy other publications when I arrive, even in languages I can’t read.

Where has seduced you?

The Mediterranean Riviera – all the way from Nice in France to Genoa across the Italian border with gorgeous Monaco in the middle. The landscape is breathtaking, and the produce from the land and sea is exceptional. This is where I found my culinary roots.

Better to travel or arrive?

To arrive – because that’s when the action starts. I’ve just opened a new restaurant  called IDAM in Doha, so I’ve been travelling frequently to Qatar. I still remember the first time I arrived in this unfamiliar country:  I was struck by the mix of light, heat and modernity.

Worst travel experience?

Being at a hotel many years ago in Brittany when they forgot my wake-up call. As a  result, I missed the early-morning plane I  had planned to Paris. I was due to catch a  connecting flight at Charles de Gaulle to New York, too. Obviously, I missed it and my entire trip was a mess.

Favourite walk?

Paris. I always discover myriad tiny passages and impressive views from the bridges across the Seine. The seasons pass, the light changes and the city takes on a different look.

Best meal abroad?

I’ve visited at least one restaurant a day for the past 20 years, eating superb meals in New York, London and Tokyo,  and many more remarkable restaurants in a host of smaller cities too.

Recently, though, in New York, I had my best French fries at Pommes Frites in the East Village, exceptional smoked salmon at Russ & Daughters in the Lower East Side, and the most amazing slice of pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn.

Where next?

Back to New York to promote my latest book and meet friends and colleagues.

J’aime New York by the Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur is published by Hardie Grant, £35

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
    Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy