In a new, mainly plant-based restaurant in Paris, Michelin-star chef Alain Ducasse shows that plants can be “tres chic”
Michelin-starred Chef Alain Ducasse is preparing to open Sapid, a Parisian gourmet restaurant that will focus on plant-based dishes. At Sapid, Ducasse turns traditional French cuisine on its head by putting vegetables in the foreground and only using animal products for seasoning. “We’ll take care of the planet [mindful] of its scarce resources, of the men and women who cultivate, fish and gather, ”said Ducasse France info. “It will be 95 percent plant-based. And the seasoning will be animal protein. It will be fish. “
The chef owns a number of restaurants around the world and is no stranger to plant-based cuisine. “I’ve been making a vegetarian menu in Monaco since 1996. It went without saying that we should be able to show that it is possible to create a restaurant where only plants are the reference, ”said Ducasse. “Vegetable protein is more than enough to meet an individual’s nutritional needs.”
In addition to opening the Sapid Plant Forward, Ducasse is also working on adding plant-based dishes to its two Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Meurice, in Paris. “At Le Meurice we will reinvent contemporary French cuisine with a young team, always with a strong vegetable influence,” says the 64-year-old chef.
During his four decades of career, Ducasse has earned 21 Michelin stars, placing him in an elite chef category with Joël Robuchon and Gordon Ramsay with 31 and 17 stars respectively. Ducasse is also the first chef to receive three Michelin stars for restaurants in three different cities at the same time.
Michelin-star chefs rely on vegetable
Sapid is part of a growing trend among star chefs rethinking the future of fine dining. While earlier iterations of upscale tasting menus focused solely on animal protein, chefs are beginning to recognize the value of plants as central ingredients that are healthier for humans, animals, and the planet.
A former critic of veganism, Ramsay has adapted to the tasty, plant-based change by adding vegan options to his restaurants, experimenting with vegan bacon recipes on social media, and recently becoming the face of a campaign for Silk’s oat milk. “Well, my kids got overwhelmed, but now I really enjoy cooking more plant-based dishes at home and in my restaurants,” said Ramsay.
In Los Angeles, star chef Josef Centeno is also experimenting with plant-based cuisine. The chef, nominated for the James Beard Award, replaces dairy products with plant-based alternatives to offer guests more choice without sacrifice. At his Tex-Mex restaurant, Bar Amá, the renowned chef has teamed up with So Delicious to use the brand’s vegan cheese in place of dairy in some of his most popular dishes, including Cheddar Almond “Queso” and Chile Relleno.
Perhaps the biggest shock in the world of fine dining was the plant-based transformation of the world-famous Eleven Madison Park by chef Daniel Humm, which reopened this summer after a long sleep caused by the pandemic. “When we started imagining what Eleven Madison Park would be like after the pandemic – when we started thinking about food in creative ways again – we realized that it wasn’t just the world that had changed, it was that we did it has changed too, ”said Humm. “It was clear that after everything we had all experienced in the last year, we would not be able to open the same restaurant.”
While the dry-aged duck used to be the main attraction of the influential New York restaurant, today the spotlight is on 16-hour smoked beets, served in a ceramic pot that is broken on the table. Milk and honey are the only non-vegan options on the menu and are offered to guests at the coffee service. The remainder of the $ 335 tasting menu consists of luxurious vegetable dishes that pave a new way for fine dining. “The last year made me rethink everything. We found the answers in the dark, ”Humm recently posted on Instagram. “Cooking with plants was so pleasant and free.”
Credit: Bruno Cordioli