Multi-Michelin-starred French chef Alain Ducasse will not open any restaurants this year due to the global economic slowdown, Caterer can reveal.
Groupe Alain Ducasse opened four restaurants in 2008: Adour at the St Regis hotel in New York in January Benoit in New York in April Adour in Washington, DC, in September and Comptoir de Benoit in Osaka, Japan, in October - but there will be "no more openings" in 2009, the chef said.
"In 2008 we opened lots of restaurants, so we're going to focus on finishing them off and polishing them up," he told Caterer. "We have several other projects for the end of 2009-beginning of 2010, but this year will be a year of quiet transition."
Ducasse said he had been pleased after his eponymous restaurant at the Dorchester hotel in London was awarded two Michelin stars last month, but admitted there was now pressure to improve.
"It's good for me it's good for the team… of course, now we have to have three, and we must have other stars in other places," he said. "But we're not all about striving for Michelin stars we're striving for a constant evolution to satisfy our customers - it's a bit different."
Ducasse also praised the efforts of the winning Norwegian chefs at this year's Bocuse d'Or competition, admitting they had worked harder than the French chefs.
"I think they the Norwegians] had worked harder they were perfectly prepared. When you don't have the certainty of being the best like countries in Europe, you work even harder, and it's that that gets you to the higher levels," he said. "Often the French assume we're the best, and we work less, so that's how we finished third."
- Watch out for our exclusive video interview with Ducasse at www.caterersearch.com/video later this month.
By Gemma Sharkey
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