Ducasse fuming over Eiffel ouster

Alain Ducasse
Alain Ducasse

PARIS • Alain Ducasse (above), a towering figure in French cuisine, does not want to be toppled from the Eiffel Tower.

He has reacted furiously to his ouster from the Jules Verne restaurant on the second floor of the Paris landmark, where French President Emmanuel Macron hosted American President Donald Trump at a glitzy dinner in July last year.

After a decade on the monument, Ducasse, 61, was dethroned by fellow star chefs Frederic Anton (above right) and Thierry Marx (above left), who won a 10-year tender to run the Jules Verne, as well as a brasserie on the first floor and snack counters.

In court last week, Ducasse's lawyers argued that the chef, who has won 21 Michelin stars for his restaurants worldwide, was now "the most-starred chef in the world" after the death earlier this month of Joel Robuchon.

He is also set to open BBR by Alain Ducasse in Singapore's Raffles Hotel. The 235-seat restaurant and bar will dish out Mediterranean food.

His lawyers accused the consulting company used to rate the competing Jules Verne bids of a conflict of interest, noting that it had done consulting work for the company representing Anton and Marx.

Perched 125m above ground, the one-star Jules Verne has unrivalled views of Paris, from the Louvre museum to the golden dome of Napoleon's tomb.

The prices reflect the location, with Ducasse's five-course dinner menu at €190 (S$298) a head.

Last month, Anton and Marx said cooking on the Eiffel Tower, which received 6.2 million visitors last year, was their "wildest dream".

The tower's operator Sete said the pair had been chosen because they offered a "strong leap in terms of quality", with dining options that cater to all budgets, and respect the environment by giving priority to local products.

Marx, owner of two-star Sur Mesure restaurant at Mandarin Oriental hotel in Paris, has also been praised for free cooking courses for the unemployed.

Anton is the chef of three-star Le Pre Catalan restaurant in the Bois de Boulogne park, west of Paris.

The pair are due to take over at the Jules Verne in October.

The decision of the court, which is hearing Ducasse's complaint, is expected on Aug 28.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2018, with the headline 'Ducasse fuming over Eiffel ouster'. Print Edition | Subscribe