The mirrored entrance to Mix restaurant at the newly opened Emerald Palace Kempinski in Dubai is somewhat unnerving – there’s nothing like being confronted by 100 versions of yourself to induce fear ahead of meeting one of the world’s most decorated chefs. But when I spot Alain Ducasse across the vast restaurant space, the afternoon sun flooding through the floor-to-ceiling windows, he looks fresh and happy and I’m put at ease. It’s no mean feat. Ducasse has been at his new restaurant-cum-nightspot since 7am – this after staying up past midnight at its launch party the night before. “I just choose not to be tired,” shares the chef, who was the first to own three restaurants carrying three Michelin stars each in three cities (London, Monaco, and New York). It would appear that as well as being a chef extraordinaire, Alain Ducasse is also somewhat of a philosopher.
We sit down for lunch at a high table with a full view of the action in the kitchen. He looks right at home, though Ducasse doesn’t work often in the kitchen these days. “It gives me time to talk to people like you,” he smiles. What he means is, time to court media, network, and meet those who help keep the wheels turning.
Ducasse, who has written around 30 cookbooks, is hands-on with all his projects. He worked closely with architect Manuel Clavel to create the new, three-tiered space, which includes a rooftop Chef ’s Table, a gold private dining area with exquisite views of the city skyline, a vast white and mirrored main restaurant with terraces, and a moody lounge. “The idea is to give people the option to choose the experience they want,” he explains.
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