Not that the Sybaritic Single enjoys dining out, but when he does, he prefers doing it well. Auguste Fauchon, Joël Robuchon and, to a lesser extent, Anne-Sophie Pic are his go-to grand chefs. Alain Ducasse, on the other hand, almost always disappointed him.
Over a decade ago, Ducasse lost his infamous ADNY restaurant at the Essex House in New York (three Michelin stars), known for being the most expensive and controversial restaurant in the United States with its pretentious wax seals on the wine list and vulgar knives-and-pens presentations. “The eatery that destroyed ‘French dining’ in New York City“, New York Post wrote. More recently, the Monégasque chef was outed from the iconic Les Jules Verne (two Michelin stars), perched 420 feet above the ground on the second level of the Eiffel Tower, which the Sybaritic Single considered the most glamorous canteen in all of Paris. It offered set menus only – the concept which is so-not-luxury – and snooty service. It almost felt that the grand chef was laughing in the face of its loyalists. The Sybaritic Single also remembers the most disappointing romantic dinner at Ducasse’s only restaurant in Russia, miX in St. Petersburg (zero Michelin stars). The signature cockpot was pathetic. Naturally, it closed in late 2014.
The latest earthquake in French gastronomy happened when Hôtel Plaza Athénée announced it would conclude its relationship with Ducasse on 30 June 2021, after 21 years of what all thought was an organic partnership. A true ‘slap in the face’ for the top French chef who is known among hoteliers as an absolute financial black hole – and a loss of another three Michelin stars as well the Sybaritic Single’s favourite morning place (breakfasts were truly divine there).
The Sybaritic Single expects that the next loss of Ducasse will be his three-storey miX restaurant in Dubai. According to sources, Raffles The Palm will replace it with its own Long Bar, the first in the Middle East. Will it be more enjoyable to sip a perfect Singapore Sling in that space? The Sybaritic Single certainly agrees it will be, and hopes that Ducasse won’t choke on foie gras once the news is out.