I had lunch with Alain Ducasse today…

…and a couple of other journalists. The chef of chefs, head of a 27-restaurants-universe reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Las Vegas to Tokyo, had called in to celebrate good old Rech restaurant in Paris close to Arc de Triomphe. Ducasse took over here some time ago, invested 1.5 million Euros (2 million US$), installed young Julien Dumas at the stoves and has now what he calls “a contemporary place to eat”.

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At his table today: a Spanish lady, an Italian, two Americans, two Japanese, well, and me. We’ve been talking about the financial crises’ impact on the art of fooding, Ducasse’s recent and future projects, and we’ve learnt that he’s working on a book on Paris right now, due to be published in mid-october. You might not be surprised to hear that Ducasse is an elegant, open-minded, easy-to-like kind of guy, you may have heard further that he survived a plane crash long ago, and I guess this miraculous survival back then has only strengthened his love for life, well-being – and great food.

Today and since quite a while he’s travelling the world all over, visiting his spoon in Hong Kong, his beige in Tokyo, The Dorchester in London, Mix in Las Vegas, not to mention the bunch of first class bistros and haute-cuisine-temples he manages in France, namely the house where his grand career started: Louis XV in Monaco. In a one year’s time he used to travel six times around the world, now, he says, he’s doing it only four times a year. And then he smiles his boyish smile, checking his Blackberry for news every now and then, trying to be an attentive listener which is not that easy when you have to deal with food journalists…

What about Rech? Well, I can warmly recommend to go there next time you’re in Paris, especially when you love fish, shellfish, mussels, crabs. Since its beginnings in the 1920’s this restaurant has concentrated on seafood of all kinds, nowadays they only serve “ethically correct” catches which only adds to your pleasure. Special lunch today consisted of a fabulous vegetable Cookpot combining asparagus and morels, followed by a nice slice of steamed sea bass garnished with tiny vegetables stuffed with mussels and cockles. Then Camembert, then an enchanting dessert made of shortbread topped with a citrus cream and strawberries.

As a regular costumer you’ll pay 30 Euros (40 US$) for such a lunch menu, dinner comes at 53 Euros (70 US$). That’s a lot? Well, in Paris, not really. It’s an average price for a good meal here, so you’d better get used to it once you’re here.

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