After a shift what is your favorite guilty pleasure to eat? “It has no name, and it is not even ‘cooked,’ technically speaking. It’s a plain bowl of cereal, along with whatever I find in my cupboard, typically dried fruits. It’s my favorite weekend comfort food.”
Is there one dish you won’t cook? “I created a camel à la Rossini for the IDAM restaurant in Doha, I use potato peelings or butternut seeds in some recipes… Frankly, I can’t see something I would not cook.”
All-time favorite spice. “Love. This is by far the most important ingredient.”
What is your favorite music to listen to while you cook? “When I’m at home, it’s my children chattering when cooking with me.”
Did you grow up cooking as a kid? “Oh yes! My first memory is of cooking a chocolate cake.”
What cookbook is your go-to resource for inspiration? “My main inspiration comes from marketplaces, talking with producers and listening to the elders who share their cooking traditions with me.”
After all these years working in restaurants do you still enjoy going out to eat? “More than ever. Discovering new products and tastes is a never-ending pleasure.”
Is there one chef you’d like to cook with? “I cannot name one. I have been tasting for 30 years but I still have so much to discover. For example, I remember this outstanding dinner I had in this small restaurant in Kyoto, where this young chef cooked an incredible meal for me. It was the pinnacle of excellence, refinement, and precision of flavor.”
Name the all-time best cooking show. “I prefer, by far, to experience cuisine live.”
What is the one tool that you always make sure to pack when you’re traveling for business? “An empty bag, to bring back all sorts of memorabilia I find at flea markets, like crockery, kitchenware, tableware, etc.”
Famed chef Alain Ducasse has more than two dozen restaurants around the world, which have been awarded a staggering 21 Michelin stars. His New York restaurant Benoit turns 10-years-old this year.
Interview has been condensed and edited.