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Alain Ducasse

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Alain Ducasse Tries to Win Our Love

Ducasse
New York City hasn’t been kind to Alain Ducasse. But after reading this week’s big feature on the world’s most-starred chef and his latest effort to make New York love him, we find it hard to believe that he doesn’t have a fighting chance. Adam Platt somehow manages to appreciate delicacy this week and gives Smith’s an enthusiastic two-star review. Finally, Rob and Robin bring us two things sure to warm the insides of any New Yorker in January: Charles Gabriel’s collard greens and the hot cocktails at three of New York’s best bars.

Kerry Heffernan's South Gate Slated for February Opening

Whatever happened to 154 South Gate, the restaurant helmed by Eleven Madison Park’s Kerry Heffernan that will fill the void left by Alain Ducasse’s old eatery in the Essex House? Turns out it’s going to be called just South Gate and will go into the space that was formerly Café Botanica. The latest from maître d’ Marc Mover is that it will start taking reservations around January 15, will start serving friends and family the week after that, and will open to the public on the first week of February. (Ducasse’s new venture, Adour, is scheduled to open January 28.) Unsurprisingly, Mover describes the menu as “greenmarket — fresh produce, local farmers, American style with a little bit of French influence or infusion.” And so the Haute Barnyard tear continues… Earlier: Decent Tables Still Available for Ducasse’s Opening Night

‘Top Chef’ Bitch Opens Restaurant; Gordo Looking for Victims

Former Top Chef contestant Dave “don’t call me a bitch, bitch” Martin (Season One) has opened his own restaurant on West 42nd Street called Crave, and he’s serving comfort food. [Zagat] Hakata Tonton is bringing its love of pig's feet to the West Village — even dessert has the collagen-packed delicacy. [Eat for Victory/VV] Alain Ducasse’s wine bar Adour at the St. Regis Hotel is set to open in January. [Decanter] Related: Essex House and St. Regis Restaurants: Maybe Next Year! Grape Nuts [NYM]

Michelin Virus Spreads, Delighting Ducasse, Krauts; Angering Gordo, Japanese

The Michelin guide gives the media plenty of fodder today — the Los Angeles and Las Vegas guides are out today, the first ever Tokyo guide comes out on Monday, and the German guide came out yesterday. The takeaway: Thanks to a star for his $16 million restaurant Mix at the Mandalay Bay, Alain Ducasse has now become the most-starred chef at 13 stars (beating out Gordon Ramsay's 12 — perhaps why Gordo got a little pissy on Regis & Kelly yesterday). On the international front, Germany now moves ahead of Spain and Italy in number of three-star restaurants with a whopping 9 behind eternal front-runner France’s 26. It remains to be seen whether the Tokyo guide will change all that but (big surprise!) the Japanese are about as pissed as we were when Michelin set its giant inflatable foot on our shores. Quoth a Japanese food blogger: “These are French people who want to judge Japanese cuisine according to French standards. Japanese people who take part in this ought to be ashamed of themselves.” We hear you, brother! Alain Ducasse regains crown as most-starred chef [Caterersearch.com] Michelin guide steps out of West, into controversy in Tokyo [AFP] Schnitzel Outcooks Spaghetti in Michelin Guide [Deutsche Welle] Gordon Ramsay Loses Temper with Regis Philbin [Showbiz Spy] Earlier: The Case Against Michelin

Essex House and St. Regis Restaurants: Maybe Next Year!

A Times restaurant preview had Alain Ducasse’s latest, Adour, opening at the St. Regis Hotel in late November. Also slated to open its doors this month was the restaurant that’s replacing Ducasse’s old joint in the Essex House: 154 South Gate, helmed by former 11 Madison Park chef Kerry Heffernan. In the spirit of competition, we were curious to see if Ducasse could open Ardour before his Essex House replacement—but folks on the inside have informed us that everyone will be waiting 'til at least next year to see either place cross the finish line. Adour is poised to open late January; no official date is set for 154 South Gate, though hotel sources said it’s also looking more like January. For now, we regretfully release our sweaty grip on our stopwatches. This concludes your Future Fine Dining update. Related: Here Come the Chefs

Mario Batali, Food Network Split; Vermin at Da Silvano and Peter Luger

The Food Network dumps Mario Batali, and he dumps Iron Chef America in return. [NYP] Da Silvano‘s media connections won’t keep rat spottings out of the news as Inside Edition will air footage of the vermin tonight alongside similarly damning video of both Peter Luger and Blue Ribbon. [Eater] "Nobody at the Bryant Park tents has to starve, sleep or stay sober" during fashion week thanks to sponsorships including Eleni’s cookies, Nespresso, and most importantly the entire Spanish wine region of Rioja. [NYDN]

Summer Ends and Life Begins Again, In Restaurant World

Ducasse and Boulud
Forget Openings. Forget Openings. Forget reviews. Forget the Short List (more or less). The summer and its indolent desolation is over at last. The restaurant world prepares for its yearly rebirth, and its nocturnal flower is set to blossom. Fall Preview is here. And any New Yorker not currently in an intensive care unit should hasten to read every word.

Where to Dine Alone; Julia Child's Ghost Still Loves Butter

In a list of the world’s best restaurants to dine alone, the Modern Bar Room is right up there with London restaurant Itsu, where the former Russian spy is thought to have been poisoned with radium. [Forbes] Related: No, Just Me [NYM] "Page Six" figures out almost a year after the Times that Alain Ducasse is opening a space in the St. Regis Hotel. Ah, August. [NYP] Two researchers spent a year compiling a book of New York gourmet shops; two favorites were Yonah Schimmel and Christopher Norman Chocolates. [NYDN]

Pearl’s Oyster Bar Sues Ed’s Lobster Bar; Ducasse Taking Over Brasserie LCB

The owner of Pearl Oyster Bar sues the owner of Ed’s Lobster Bar for intellectual-property theft, accusing her former sous-chef of having stolen everything from the paint job to the Caesar salad dressing. [NYT] Alain Ducasse has taken over Brasserie LCB and is looking to convert it into a bistro along the lines of Benoit, his casual place in Paris. [NYT] It might not be such a good idea to hire a Top Chef. [NYO]

Battle of the DBs in Forest Hills; JFK to Get the Gourmet Treatment

Never you been to Daniel Boulud’s new restaurant in Forest Hills? That’s because there isn’t one. But Danny Brown’s db wine bar and restaurant sounds close enough to db bistro moderne that the great chef’s copyright is threatened. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Travelers at JFK airport won’t have to get by on chili dogs much longer – a Todd English eatery, a wine bar, an oyster bar, and more high-end venues are on the way. [NYP] Seamus Mullen is more at home with the elevated cooking at Suba than the rustic style at Boqueria: “It was like getting back to basics that I never really had.” [Restaurant Girl] Staffers at Charlie Palmer’s Kitchen 22 found out the place was closing yesterday via a cell-phone call telling them they were now out of a job. Nice. [NYP] Katz’s may be threatened by condo development, but pastrami still has secure fortresses in the outer boroughs. [Gothamist] Related: Mother of Mercy! Is This the End of Katz’s? [Grub Street]

Alain Ducasse Has Designs on LCB’s Midtown West Space

Astoria: Sai’s Organics health-food store will open a new location that incorporates a wellness center, and they’re hiring. [Joey in Astoria] Bensonhurst: Do Carluccio’s heroes have a right to be famous? Has anyone heard of them? [Brooklyn Record] East Village: A sake retailer is moving in on East 9th Street. [Down by the Hipster] Flatiron: Charlie Palmer shuts down Kitchen 22. [Eater] Fort Greene: Pequeña chef and co-owner Johannes Sanzin, who also partners in Olea and Maggie Brown, is developing a space on Fulton and Clinton Avenue for an unknown restaurant. [VV] Midtown West: Our Insatiable Critic’s new blog breaks news that Alain Ducasse cohorts claim to have secured the low-rent space of Department of Health–shuttered Brasserie LCB. [Bite] Upper East Side: There’s apparently something sacred about staring at bodega workers just trying to have dinner in peace. [The Upper East Side Informer] Williamsburg: An Austro-Hungarian biergarten — huge, with a restaurant — is in progress on North 3rd Street! [A Test of Will]

Alain Ducasse Hates Molecular Gastronomy; BLT Market Pushed Back to August

Alain Ducasse speaks out on his restaurants, his rivalry with Joël Robuchon, and the challenge of running a global empire. But his most pointed remarks are about molecular gastronomy: “I prefer to be able to identify what I’m eating.” [Bloomberg] BLT Market, Laurent Tourondel’s entry into the Haute Barnyard sweepstakes, has been pushed back to August. [RG] “Hipster chef” Sam Mason’s new Internet TV show gets love in the Daily News, which swooningly describes him as “witty, goateed and extremely good-looking.” But you already knew that. [NYDN] Related: The Launch

More Chodogate Fallout; KFC Seeks Papal Blessing

Bruni has but a few baffled words about Chodogate. [NYP] Related: We Ask Jeffrey Chodorow If He’s Been Feeling Well Lately The Gobbler Responds to Mr. Chodorow’s Broadside KFC seeks a papal blessing for its Fish Snacker sandwich. For real. [Nation's Restaurant News] Le Bernardin's Eric Ripert apparently has a huge Latin following, and he will be hailed as a hero when he arrives in Miami this weekend for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. [Miami Herald]

The Travails of the Produce Biz; A Rebuke to Our Rachael Ray Defense

An inside look at what restaurants’ produce suppliers go through and the razor's edge their business turns on. [NYT] Nina Lalli believes that we were wrong to defend Rachael Ray, who, she says, just throws fatty food at the masses, with no care for their well-being. [VV] Joël Robuchon has confirmed that he’s going to open a restaurant in Chicago; now it looks like Alain Ducasse will be doing the same. If, as some speculate, Ducasse never reopens here, we may actually end up behind Chicago in something. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Dishwashers, Culinary Elite Being Allowed Into Peter Luger’s Kitchen

Usually, an outfit with a name like Culinary Insiders is bound to be just the opposite. And yet a group calling itself exactly that has some of the city’s most promising restaurant events scheduled, starting with a behind-the-scenes tour of Peter Luger on Sunday the 21st. Also upcoming*: a truffle party at Alain Ducasse, a trip to Stone Barns with Dan Barber, and in February, a Chinese New Year extravaganza at 66. And though membership may have its privileges, accredited Insiders get only $25 off the $150 Luger tour ticket. And, yes, that does come with a steak meal. Behind-the-Scenes at Peter Luger [Culinary Insiders] * Correction, Jan. 5: The Stone Barns and Alain Ducasse events have already taken place.

Ducasse, Ray Feeding Astronauts

Not only is the space race still on, but France has pulled ahead of the U.S. You read that right: The European Space Agency recently teamed with Alain Ducasse, a man who knows a thing or two about stars (Michelin having given him nine over the course of his career), and Ducasse has prepared special meals — quails roasted in wine, duck-breast confit with capers, and "Riviera style swordfish" — for inhabitants of the International Space Station, currently hovering 220 miles above the earth. The first one was served Sunday. NASA, meanwhile, has engaged Rachael Ray to design meals like Thai chicken for the Discovery shuttle crew, who will be blasting off on Thursday. We're pretty sure her food will be an improvement on Fruit Roll-Ups and Tang, but it's hard not to feel a pang of national embarrassment reading the Ducasse menu. Gourmet Meals on Menu for ISS Crew [Aero-News Network] TV Host Upgrades Astronaut Meals [USA Today]

Zak Pelaccio Opening New Restaurant — in London

We were as surprised as all get-out to hear via Eater that Zak Pelaccio and Jeffrey Chodorow are planning to take Fatty Crab national. So we called Pelaccio: "It's simply inaccurate," the chef tells us. "I don't know where Eater gets their info, but it's not from me nor any of my business partners." Fine — we Web types sometimes get the wrong information. But then, Pelaccio delivered a real bit of news: He'll be taking over Alain Ducasse's Spoon (owned by Jeffrey Chodorow) in the Sanderson Hotel in London and launching a Malaysian restaurant as consulting chef. "But that has nothing to do with Fatty Crab or even America," he adds. But it has everything to do with a local guy making good. EaterWire: Ramsay Lands, Drops Two-Hour Time Limit, Boxer's Loses Their Lease, Fatty Crab Goes National! [Eater]

New Mobil Ratings: Quixotic Attempt at Scientific Objectivity

Given how much hubbub there was over the Michelin ratings, and how bad the guide actually was (as we recently noted here), we're surprised we haven't heard more reactions to Mobil's quasi-scientific restaurant guide, the latest edition of which was just released. "We have created a very objective process of evaluating restaurants," Shane O'Flaherty, Mobil's vice-president of quality assurance and the man in charge of the restaurant ratings, tells us. "From that standpoint, we believe that it's as accurate as you can get, anywhere you go." Only four New York restaurants received the top rank of five stars in the ratings released last week: Alain Ducasse, Per Se, Masa, and Jean Georges. (Le Bernardin, which won three Michelin stars, is conspicuously absent.) What separates a five-star restaurant from a four? O'Flaherty cited some startlingly specific examples from Mobil's checklist.