Naturally nutritious

Naturally nutritious

Celebrity French chef Alain Ducasse unveiled his new book in the city late last month.

Published: December 19, 2012 (Issue # 1740)


Alain Ducasse pictured with Andreas Landsvik, manager of the W hotel’s
miX restaurant, at the book launch.

Vegetables take center stage in Alain Ducasse’s new book, “Nature: Simple, Healthy and Good, 190 Recipes from a French Master Chef” that the author presented at a gastronomic dinner in his miX restaurant at the city’s W hotel last month.

“One should not underestimate the role of vegetables — it is a healthy and actually very accessible product that allows you to experience a feast of taste,” said Ducasse, who has 21 Michelin stars under his belt and 24 restaurants in his Alain Ducasse group, at the presentation of the Russian version of his book. The international bestseller was inspired by a series of gastronomic books that the chef had previously published in French.

“It is a serious book; it encourages readers to contemplate gastronomic issues from the lifestyle and health angle, to give a thought to how what we eat affects our well-being,” he said.

In his own kitchen at home, Ducasse and his second wife Gwénaëlle — a vegetarian — employ the same principles that the chef has been so vigorously promoting. The lion’s share of recipes included in the book revolve around vegetables, whole grains and seafood. The noble mission of creating healthy recipes is enhanced by the art of cooking, which results in dishes that are good for you, while tasting heavenly. Savory pumpkin gratin, lightly poached lobster with vegetable macedoine, steamed whiting with seaweed and sautéed greens, vegetables à la barigoule with vanilla, and rabbit with winter vegetables soaked in anis bouillion are just some of the culinary temptations in Ducasse’s voluminous book. For dessert, think apples and pears gently stewed in a Römertopf clay cooker.

The future Michelin chef acquired a taste for farm produce as a toddler. Ducasse grew up on a farm in southwest France, and his grandmother served him farm-fresh produce for every meal. For him, the words “granny’s cooking” meant not only delicious but also fresh food. This approach worked well to create the foundation of Ducasse’s now famous philosophy of dining, as well as forming his personal eating habits.

The chef refers to his childhood memories on the farm as nothing less than “a paradise on earth.”

In Ducasse’s opinion, the greatest and most common mistake that people make across the globe today is consuming far too many animal proteins, resulting in an overall heavy disproportion of meat to vegetable dishes.

A self-declared antiglobalist, Ducasse is firmly for the use of regional farming produce.

“Use as much local, home-grown food as you can, this is the best you can do for yourself,” the world-renowned chef advises.

“And being a chef, I can assure you that ordering ingredients from the world’s most distant corners is unwise; nor does it qualify you as being creative. Instead, make the most of your local products: Nature is equally generous, wherever you are.”

Alain Ducasse’s book “Nature: Simple, Healthy and Good, 190 Recipes from a French Master Chef” is on sale at Bukvoyed bookstores in Russian. At Bukvoyed’s online store, it costs 1,973 rubles. Retail prices are around 2,200-2,500 rubles.

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