The Indian dish loved by the most starred chef in the world | India News

michelin the stars are the highest distinction in the world of gastronomy and the French chef Alain Ducasse holds a record number (he currently holds 17 stars and boasts of 21 during his career). The starred chef has now focused on sustainable and forward-thinking food. In India to announce the first campus of Ecole Ducasse in partnership with the Indian School of Hospitality, Gurgaon, the 65-year-old spoke with Sharad Kohli and shared his hopes for India to become an influential voice on the global culinary scene
What’s keeping you busy these days?
So many projects! But I take advantage of this visit to learn more about India.
The pandemic has been a bad time for fine dining restaurants. How did you handle this?
I still see the world positively, and the pandemic has allowed us to experience the ability to rebound. In New York, our restaurant Benedict Never closed. We had to reduce the number of employees from 75 to 10, but we rehired everyone when the situation started to improve. Everyone adapted very quickly — when we couldn’t serve inside, we built outdoor spaces and we were able to serve there as soon as Benoit reopened. Now we press the reset button. This is all behind us and our restaurants in Paris and London have also reopened.
You opened Sapid, a 95% plant-based restaurant in Paris. Indian cuisine has always been vegetarian, so are there any lessons for chefs around the world?
We started to look at this aspect of Indian cuisine for a specific restaurant that we were preparing, in Doha, Qatar, called IDAM, at the Museum of Islamic Art. I asked Chef Hemant Oberoi to show me around so I could better understand the vegetarian base (which he uses) and the use of spices in his creative process. So, yes, there is a lot to learn here for world chefs. We have used this knowledge of Indian cuisine in another of our restaurants, adding age-old knowledge of Shojin, the vegan cuisine of Kyoto, Japan. Thus, Shojin plus the knowledge of the vegetable base of India plus the French know-how equals another of our restaurants.
Have you ever had the chance to work and experience Indian cuisine in your menus?
We have a restaurant called Spoon in Paris, near the old stock exchange, which is heavily inspired by India and the Indian subcontinent. However, this is our own interpretation
Indian cuisine rather than traditional recipes. India has one of the greatest culinary traditions in the world, and our mission at this school is to give it the international recognition it deserves.
What can the culinary arts of France offer to the Indian palate?
A succession of techniques, step by step, very precise and constantly evolving — cutting, cooking, seasoning, reducing, learning to pair wines, learning to create a menu where everything is in harmony. All this is codified, and it is a tradition that continues. And it’s the same with baking. This can allow students to have a toolkit ready for them to understand their own culinary identity, which is tied to their roots.
Although you are known for haute cuisine, you recently opened Burgal, a vegan burger stand in Paris. Is vegan food your new priority?
It is in fact a unique link that starts from gastronomy and leads to the creation of a kitchen inspired by nature, which would include vegetables, cereals and sustainable fishing – a kind of R&D! That’s how I created Sapid, and now the affordable burger. It’s about respecting what nature has to offer and respecting the planet’s resources. We understand that you can’t go to a gourmet restaurant every day, but without the R&D of what we did first in gastronomy, we would not be able to create other plant-based recipes that will go from the top towards a more affordable version, while benefiting from the same attention.
What’s your favorite street food in the world?
Maybe Japanese. I’ve been traveling in Japan for 30 years and when I take the train, I always find absolutely delicious little things to buy for the trip.
And you, do you have a favorite Indian dish?
I really can’t say! If someone asked me: ‘What is your favorite French dish?’ I still can’t answer, even though I’ve been living in France for so long! But the way vegetables as ingredients are processed and cooked here, your miraculous talent for using spices, and lentils in particular – I could spend a year here learning how to cook lentils. I’m crazy about lentils!
You are the most starred chef in the world. What is the pressure exerted by the maintenance of these stars?
If I compare it to fashion, my upscale restaurants are like haute couture. I’m very honored that Michelin rewards these restaurants with three stars, but that’s not all we do — we also do ready-to-wear, luxury ready-to-wear, country chic, bistros , etc. A burger at Burgal can start at €7. 50.