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If there’s one thing you can say about French restaurants, it’s that they’re not exactly known for being vegetarian-friendly *tries to expunge traumatic memories from teenage school trips from head*. Which makes this news even more spectacular: When Alain Ducasse reopens his eponymous restaurant at the Plaza Athenée today, the emphasis will be on vegetarian and pescatarian food. (Please note: this could also be a sign of the impending apocalypse.)
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How does one say “Shut It Down” in French? It looks like Alain Ducasse is taking Rachel Zoe’s phrase as gospel, first with pulling out of W Vieques this past spring and now with the latest news of closing Adour at the St. Regis New York.
Chef Ducasse hasn't officially stated the reason for abandoning the five-year old restaurant, only mentioning through his handlers that it had been on his mind since the spring. Seems he wasn’t in a good mood during that time. Plus, this decision comes just six years after he closed down his restaurant at Essex House, another pricey place.
The opulent Adour was lauded with three stars in 2008 by New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni, and a quiet favorite among those with deep pockets. Not surprising considering the menu consisted of $65 entrees, an $125 tasting menu, and an extensive wine list that would make an oenophile weep.
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After weeks of asking various members of the W Vieques team about Alain Ducasse’s departure from the hotel’s kitchen a few months ago, and receiving limp responses, the company has finally announced a new chef and name change.
Fernando Coppola is the new Executive Chef of Sorcé, the restaurant that’s thankfully swapped out the old (and irritating) name of miX on the Beach. Coppola was the sous chef there and has been promoted, though the company says Coppola is not “technically replacing Ducasse since Duccasse’s role was not to be on-site and in the kitchen on a daily basis.” Fair enough. But with the initial build up of Ducasse coming to the W Vieques in the first place back in 2010, and now that his presence is…gone…we’re not sure what other word to use for Coppola than replacement.
The W Vieques released this statement:
“When W debuted on Vieques Island, it created a new way to escape, and we would like to thank Chef Alain Ducasse and his culinary team for creating a dynamic, first-rate dining destination that was key to this successful launch,” said Greg White, general manager of W Vieques. “As we evolve to meet the needs of our jet set guests, our food and beverage strategies remain critical to enhancing overall guest experience while also drawing in locals.”
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We remember when the W Vieques opened in 2010, we were swept up in the hype. Here was this slick newjack busting in on a sleepy Puerto Rican isle that no one outside the armed forces had heard of. This island was the bomb, literally.
So, we watched with interest, especially when we found out they were bringing in chef extraordinaire Alain Ducasse to helm their restaurant called miX. Soon it seemed like everyone was heading to the W Vieques in droves. It was the “it spot”, indeed.
Fast forward to this past June when we visited in person. On the way to the “retreat” (they don’t use the word “hotel”) we heard some bad news. Ducasse had pulled out of the restaurant just weeks earlier! Yikes. We didn’t want that piece of gossip to taint our experience, but when we ate at miX, we had, well, mixed feelings.
The pumpkin veloute at a hefty $15 a bowl, was a watery disappointment. The description of the gambas (shrimp) mofongo with pork cracklings and sofrito sounded so good, we thought tasting it would make you want to slap your mother. Instead, it only made drink a ton of water it was so salty. But we kept picking at it, because hell, it was mofongo! And like pizza, even bad mofongo can be good mofongo, especially when you’ve had a few mango mojitos at WET bar. Which we did. And those drinks were on point! And the lunchtime ceviche was good too.
Anyhoo, regarding a replacement for Ducasse, reps for the W responded to an email saying they "don't have a statement ready yet, but we should have something soon."
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You may know the luxe Hotel de Paris in Monaco from the James Bond movies and its location adjacent to the famous Monte Carlo casino but now your daughter also knows the hotel, thanks to new Selena Gomez movie, "Monte Carlo."
But just FYI, there is no Grimaldi Suite at the hotel, although the Churchill and Garnier suites are nothing short of spectacular. Not that the regular rooms are all that shabby either. The five different room categories each have their own distinct look (we're partial to the pretty city view rooms and the more modern courtyard rooms--the sea view rooms seem fussy) and all come with luxe furnishings, decor and amenities.
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UPDATE 2.28.10: Alain Ducasse's miX on the Beach will also open on March 25. Woot.
We've been fretting over the opening date of the long-awaited W Vieques Island Retreat and Spa for quite some time. The last time we checked in, the hotel was set to open March 1 but an insider told us that reservations would not be accepted until sometime in May.
But yesterday we got encouraging news. The hotel (with 157 "sand-sational" rooms) is now opening March 25 with the added bonus that the miX on the Beach restaurant from superstar chef Alain Ducasse would be opening on April 1. (No foolin'!) Straight from the press release:
Executive Chef Dagan Lynn, a key member of ALAIN DUCASSE Entreprise who previously worked at the Michelin three-starred Alain Ducasse at The Essex House in New York, has collaborated with Chef Ducasse to develop the miX on the beach menu.
Infused with the exotic flavors and colors of Vieques Island, the cuisine features sun-drenched fruits and vegetables such as papaya, avocado, cashew fruit, tamarind, starfruit, guava, guanabana, yucca, yautia, pumpkin squash, pigeon peas, sweet peppers and flavorful olive oils. The result is an extraordinary culinary offering full of light and refreshing dishes, expertly prepared and creatively presented.
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In our bid to provide you with the most up-to-date information on hotel restaurants around the world, we can usually pack in the meals with the best of them, suffering through 7-course dinners just to provide our readers with the best, most comprehensive information possible. Seriously, we’re just that committed to you. This week, though, we heard about a deal at One & Only’s Le Saint Géran resort on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritus, that has even us wondering whether we could handle all this foodie fabulousness.
W Vieques, slated to open up in November (November 19th, to be precise), is notable for a handful of reasons: it's the first W "Retreat & Spa" in the Caribbean. It sits on a 55 square-mile island. And now it boasts a celeb-ish chef.
Chef Alain Ducasse has been announced as the man with the plan: heading up the kitchen at the W, his first Caribbean location, he'll be doing his part to make miX on the beach (spelling left annoyingly lower-case) a destination in itself. Expect "Latino Caribbean flavors with an artful French twist" in the restaurant which will complement an entire beverage & food program across the resort, created by Ducasse himself.
miX will also offer a selection of local produce from its own garden: papaya, avocado, cashew fruit, tamarind, starfruit, guava, and more with ocean views to enjoy as you trade fun Ducasse facts (like this one: he is the only chef in the world to operate three signature restaurants each honored with three Michelin stars).
Check out more specs on the W Vieques here.
In case you haven't been motorcycling through the backroads of Provence lately, we thought you'd like to know about superchef Alain Ducasse's pretty little hotel properties that dot the south of France like so many truffle shavings atop an entree. The collection of inns called Maisons d'Alain Ducasse, combine traditional French country living and dining with semi-affordable rates and inspiring views. With three quaint properties in Provence for his beloved concept of terroir, or a fusing of territory and tradition, and one showcasing his Mediterranean cuisine in Tuscany, Alain has risen well above doing hotel restaurants to doing the hotels themselves.
Celeb chef Alain Ducasse may be a suave Frenchman, but he is so en vogue with the American political landscape. That's right, he's bringing his own recipe for change to Washington (straight from a pundit's talking points!).
We've said it before and we'll say it again--we're not quite sure how THEhotel at Mandalay Bay is even part of the Mandalay Bay name. The boutique hotel within the hotel is a completely different experience from the blah Mandalay in every way from the rooms, to the spa to its nightlife.
We headed up to the top of THEhotel to the MIX lounge and restaurant over the weekend where we took in the amazing city views as we ate sumptuous food from renowned chef Alain Ducasse.
We aren't food writers here but this restaurant was hands-down one of the best meals we've eaten in a long time. Maybe even ever. The menu serves "contemporary and classic French and American dishes with global accents." Case in point, we had the gnocchi, a beef filet mignon and a fancy sort of mac and cheese dish.
Aside from wonderful food, MIX the restaurant has beautiful decor. A manager told us the design was to make you feel as if you were in a champagne glass, hence the "bubbles" hanging above.
While the restaurant is all white, MIX the lounge is all black but both places offer unbelievable sights of Las Vegas. Yes, even in the bathrooms stalls. And no, we didn't see any vomit in the stalls or drug overdoses. So it's safe to say this place has more than cleaned up their act.
More pictures of MIX after the jump.