Superchef Alain Ducasse 'ousted' from Michelin restaurant in 'earthquake' for French gastronomy

Alain Ducasse, the cook with the most Michelin stars in the world, is to step down from the Parisian three-starred restaurant at the Plaza Athénée hotel he has run for 21 years in what critics have dubbed an “earthquake” in French gastronomy. While the chef and hotel said his departure from the upscale eatery off the Champs-Elysées was “by mutual consent”, one well-placed culinary insider called it a “slap in the face” for France’s most famous living chef. In an ironic twist for the cook, the announcement dropped a day before France reopens its restaurant terraces after six months of Covid lockdown. Mr Ducasse, 64, who has notched up 21 stars in his career, famously chose the Plaza Athénée six years ago to launch his groundbreaking approach to cuisine dubbed “naturalité” (naturalness), which eschews two staples of French cooking: meat and butter. In a joint press release, the cook and hotel said his role as “consultant” would cease as of June 30. "The three stars obtained around ‘naturalité’ at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, and its cuisine respectful of the resources of our planet will have marked the history of high gastronomy and that of this great Parisian Palace," said François Delahaye, COO at Dorchester Collection. Mr Ducasse will nevertheless continue his collaboration with group at the two-starred restaurant Le Meurice Alain Ducasse in Paris as well as at the three-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London. No further details were provided as to the chef’s departure. Mr Ducasse's entourage declined to comment further. However, Franck Pinay-Rabaroust, editor of the specialist culinary website Atabula, said: “To be ousted from one of the best restaurants in the world is a symbolic slap in the face. For French haute gastronomy, it is an earthquake.”