“The idea is to show that cuisine transcends borders and create a European cuisine,” says Alain Ducasse. “We’re looking to combine our talents to go beyond things that have been done before. The challenge is to really turn the tables, and this unique line-up will definitely take this project to the highest level.”
Underpinned by a quest for harmony, the restaurant’s philosophy aims to showcase a dialogue of talents, a dialogue of cultures, and a dialogue with nature. The talented team is already at work in Paris to meet this ambitious challenge. Chef Romain Meder and pastry chef Jessica Préalpato have worked with one another for some time already. Alain Ducasse, who brought them together several years ago, has nurtured them with both magnanimous encouragement and demanding expectations. He is confident that the sensitivity and commitment of this duo will deliver refined subtlety amidst an explosion of flavours. Romain and Jessica concur that ingredients are the foundation, the purest expression of the combined savoir-faire of the architects and nature. The product defines and guides the creative process.
Spanish chef Albert Adrià contributes a complementary dimension to the trio, travelling to Paris from Barcelona with a seasoned team and unabashed desire. When he is not conducting tests in the kitchen he is out immersing himself in the French capital, discovering myriad meals at a diversity of restaurants, revelling in long early morning walks through a city whose intimate shifts he learns to sense. His palpable intensity notwithstanding, he is discreet, thoughtful. He is eager to seize this chance to be part of a singular adventure, a guest of Alain Ducasse, and also of France and Paris. For this project, he wants to imagine what he terms a “liturgy”, crafted to thrill guests. The heart of his creative process is found in the sequence of dishes, the structure of the menu, the surprise sparked by each creation and the succession of emotions they awaken.
“We’ll be working together to create a unique style that fuses our two worlds. And that’s how we’ll be able to propose what we have always aimed for, a true experience,” says Adrià.
Vincent Chaperon from the world of winemaking rounds out the team. In 2019 he became the seventh Chef de Cave of Dom Pérignon. With an intense focus, he is both enthusiastic and keenly aware of the responsibility that being part of this creative endeavour entails. Given the exceptional level of this challenge, he has chosen the most recent iteration of Dom Pérignon’s aesthetic ideal: Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2008. It took no fewer than 13 years of elaboration for this champagne to temper its powerful vitality. With this new vintage rosé, Vincent Chaperon postulates an inspiration that pushes limits to achieve an ideal harmony in the champagne. He perfectly recognizes what is at stake in this conversation between tastes and cultures.
“This is all about listening to and understanding one another through an ongoing dialogue. I definitely think the keyword, the heart of this project, is dialogue,” adds Chaperon.
The presence of Dom Pérignon Rosé 2008 is essential, contributing a fresh element to the construction of the collaboration. Proposing this vintage was an obvious choice, Vincent explains.
“Regardless of the year, Dom Pérignon Rosé is always an experiment, always a challenge, and always new. It’s always about going further. Because we’re talking about making a red wine in the northernmost winemaking region of Europe. You have to accept the rarity, the difficulties and meticulous precision. You have to seek out new techniques and new ideas, push the limits of the assemblage, because you have to balance the power and depth of the red wine within the holistic concept of harmony that defines Dom Pérignon. And you have to extend the maturation because it takes longer for Dom Pérignon Rosé to reach this balance.”
The experimental dimension of the vintage establishes a clear connection with the other creative energies and a quest for harmony that emerges as the leitmotif for the work in progress.
The testing sessions welcomed a parade of colours and flavours. Everyone shared their opinion, imagined future pairings and above all contributed to the decisions on which dishes would figure on the final menu.
“As we worked we saw that we were all helping one another,” recounts Jessica Préalpato. “Albert was helping us and we were helping him. Together we
were trying to take tastes to new levels.”
The fundamental question remains how this harmony between different and sometimes contradictory sensibilities will play out. And this is in fact the objective that Romain Meder has articulated.
“We want to see how these diverse worlds can come together, how these different types of music can join to create a beautiful harmony,” says Meder.
Images © AtelierMai98