Nonfictionfilm.com recommends: 'The Quest of Alain Ducasse' travels the world with French chef, restaurateur
Documentary by Gilles de Maistre follows culinary artist and mentor awarded slew of Michelin stars
To call chef Alain Ducasse exacting would be an understatement. His palate is so sensitive, his knowledge of cuisine so vast, his standards so high that his restaurants have accumulated, by one count, no less than 21 Michelin stars. That is the second-highest total ever achieved, behind only the culinary establishments of Joël Robuchon.
Ducasse's singular pursuit of perfection -- an ideal not only of gustatory sensation but of the dining experience as a whole -- is the subject of the new documentary The Quest of Alain Ducasse (La Quête d'Alain Ducasse) by French filmmaker Gilles de Maistre. The film is now playing on screens in New York, New Orleans, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and is available on a variety of streaming platforms including iTunes and Amazon Video (details here).
Gorgeously shot for the big screen, this absorbing documentary explores what makes the eponymous globe-trotting chef-businessman tick.
de Maistre followed Ducasse for over a year as he checked in on operations at his restaurants around the world and with suppliers of locally-grown ingredients that go into his dishes -- what might be called site-specific cuisine. The director also filmed the chef as he oversaw the design and launch of his eye-popping, sumptuous restaurant ore, located in the Palais de Versailles.
In the film Ducasse makes a deceptively simple observation about what high-end restaurants like his offer to clients: they are, in the chef's words, "selling memories." Or, as the ore website puts it, the opportunity for the experience of a lifetime.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.