There are roughly 130 3-star Michelin restaurants in the world. 26 of them are in France and one in Monaco. 3 of them belong to Alain Ducasse.
A little background is in order: Originally the guide was created by the Michelin Tire Company to help French drivers find accommodation, dining, and repair shops along their routes. The guide evolved, and over the last two decades it became somewhat of a Holy Grail for culinary masterminds and foodies alike. The rating system is based on three stars. The first star represents a “very good restaurant in its category,” the second shows off “excellent cooking” that is “worth a detour.” The ultimate accolade is awarded to restaurants that offer “exceptional cuisine” that is “worth a special journey.” Undoubtedly any restaurant on the list, regardless of how many stars, is well worthy of a visit!
Alain Ducasse is one of the most celebrated chef’s on the planet because of his eternal contribution to both the French cuisine and the culinary world as a whole. A spectacular chef and a brilliant businessman, Ducasse and his enterprise operate 24 restaurants across 7 countries, boasting 18 Michelin stars combined across the board. On the ground floor of Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo just steps away from the hottest couture stores, luxury cars, and the largest playground for the rich (the Monte-Carlo Casino), is Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse’s most prized possession.
“It is here, in the Louis XV, at the heart of the Riviera and over 25 years ago that the story began. Discovering this land was an essential moment in my life. This land that sings like the sun, inspires all my cooking. Today, the restaurant re-opens its doors after several months of renovation. Everything has changed. The setting and the menu – which has been deeply transformed. Nothing has really changed… The Riviera is still the prodigal inspiration of my cuisine. Basically, the story continues, more beautiful than ever.”- Alain Ducasse
The best way to describe the dining experience at Le Louis XV is as an exhilarating adventure with a sense of excitement and anxiousness when one of the members of the culinary team approached the table. I avoid saying waiters because the staff members at Le Louis XV are so much more – they are all visionaries and detail oriented artists who work as an ensemble to put together a phenomenal [and edible] masterpiece.
The preparation of the food concentrates on the natural flavor of the products. A motif in Ducasse’s restaurants: the use of fresh Provence garden vegetables. Black truffle, green steamed asparagus and seasonal vegetables give dishes a seasonal and botanical tone. Each dish is prepared and served on unique tableware. The preparation is nothing short of delicate and unusual.
Fish is symbolic of the Riviera and originates from local fishing, herbs and vegetables from inland.
The head sommelier, Noël Bajor, created a wealthy wine list from the one of the most beautiful wine cellars in the world. The wine pairing experience is divided into three parts: The Season, The Moment and The Legacy. The Season focuses on organic and sustainable grape production including some varieties from the Riviera (Furmint, Pascal, Colombo, etc). Wines that are part of ‘The Moment’ are vintage wines from regions like Bordeaux and Bourgogne. Finally, “The Legacy”, showcases wines from the The Société des Bains de Mer wine cellar.
The staple of a French diet is cheese. A true part of the French identity, le fromage is actually protected by the French AOP (Champagne, too!). Meaning that the cheese you eat is certified to be from a specific region and using agreed upon methods of production.
Alain Ducasse and his team Dominique Lory (Head Chef), Michael Lang (Restaurant Manager), Sandro Micheli (Head Pastry Chef), and Noël Bajor (Head Sommelier) orchestrated a spectacular culinary show that I will remember for a lifetime.