The palace on Avenue Montaigne, owned by the Dorchester Collection group, and the triple-starred chef have announced the end of their collaboration on June 30. Jean Imbert is said to be in line to succeed him.
Alain Ducasse leaves the Plaza Athenée !
The Plaza Athénée confirmed on Monday the rumor that has been circulating in Paris for a week. The partnership that, since 2000, linked the palace on Avenue Montaigne (8th) and the chef Alain Ducasse, is not renewed when it expires next June 30.
Clearly, the chef-entrepreneur is leaving the three-star restaurant where he had imposed, since 2014, the concept of "naturalness" around a trio of vegetables-cereals-fish. But "AD" is not breaking ties with Dorchester Collection, which also owns Le Meurice in Paris: he continues to oversee the haute gastronomy part of the establishment, whose stoves are entrusted to a stunning young chef, Amaury Bouhours, already a two-star holder and whose potential is obvious. The Monegasque also retains the London stoves of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester (3 stars).
Jean Imbert to succeed him?
At the Plaza, the fate of the discreet but clever Romain Meder, who puts Ducasse's theoretical score on the taste buds, and that of star pastry chef Jessica Préalpato, is not yet sealed. They remain employees of the palace. The latter, according to our information, would be delighted if they stayed on avenue Montaigne. But is this possible if, as rumored, the management recruits Jean Imbert to develop its gastronomic offer? A second rumor that, at first glance, may seem crazy or visionary, as Jean Imbert's profile is so far removed from that of Alain Ducasse.
Born in the Paris suburbs in 1981, trained at the Paul Bocuse Institute, he is known for loving his grandmother and show business stars. Winner of "Top Chef" in 2012, he knows how to cook, as proven by the success of his Parisian bistro Mamie. But he doesn't have the typical profile of a three-star restaurant owner in a palace. For the time being, the Plaza does not wish to comment on the Imbert hypothesis, nor does the person concerned, who avoids all requests. According to our information, however, the two protagonists are indeed in talks. The end of the story could come around June 7, just before the theoretical date of the reopening of the restaurants, set for the 9th by the government.
An effective replacement of Alain Ducasse by Jean Imbert would be, if so, the proof that a great doubt has taken hold of the palaces about their gourmet offer. After years of frantic pursuit of stars, many seem tempted by less expensive, less luxurious models. This is evidenced, for example, by the departure of Stéphanie Le Quellec from the Prince de Galles, barely crowned with two macaroons, the departure of Nicolas Sale from the Ritz, the closing of the Abeille at the Shangri-La or the table d'apparat at the Crillon, which once set the pace with Christian Constant at its head. Nevertheless, the Bristol, with Éric Frechon, and the George V, with Christian Le Squer, brilliantly maintain a certain French tradition.
Aficionados of Alain Ducasse and Romain Meder's healthy, natural cuisine can turn to Naturaliste, a much more affordable Parisian take-out chain launched from the confines of the restaurant and set to music by the young Peruvian chef Marvic Medina Matos.
VISION Destinations | May 21
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