Taste of London played host to a very special guest last night, multi-Michelin-starred super chef-restaurateur Alain Ducasse. I caught up with the iconic French chef
What do you think of the idea behind Taste of London?
I think it's an excellent idea. It's great for all the restaurants and exhibitors. There is nothing like it in France at this time. It would be great to have a Taste of Paris.
What do you think of the London dining scene?
It's fantastic and so cosmopolitan. It compares to New York. London is a very dynamic city and so is the restaurant scene and there's so much variety. It's also very competitive because there's so much on offer.
How important is it for you to have a restaurant presence in London?
It's very important. London is the biggest capital in Europe.
How much of a milestone was it for you to win the three stars at the Dorchester?
It's always difficult. It's difficult to get them and to retain them. But it's very important for my ego to get the three stars. We changed our proposal in London. Spoon was very contemporary restaurant. Now we are at the best address in London and I prefer that.
What are your plans for the future?
Last week we opened our first restaurant in Russia at the W Hotel in St Petersburg and in a few months we will open a restaurant in Doha at the Museum of Islamic Art. We have also just opened our second training school in Brazil. We opened a school in Rio about five years ago and now have about 1,000 trainees learning the art of French cuisine. Last week, we opened a school in Sao Paolo. In Brazil they don't have the know-how and the basic techniques of cooking.
You teamed with France's top chefs to launch the Collège Culinaire de France lobbying group. Where did the idea for this come from?
We all decided to gather to promote French gastronomy around the world. I don't think there was a specific need for it, it was more an idea that we had. Between me, Joël Robuchon and Pierre Gagnaire, we have restaurants all around the world. My main competitors are the French chefs - and Gordon Ramsay.
Who - other than Gordon Ramsay - do you think is a big talent in the UK?
Tom Kitchin. He is a great chef, who has developed a local cuisine with real passion.
Taste of London runs in Regent's Park until Sunday 19 June.