Connoisseurs of Alain Ducasse, rejoice! The legendary chef has unveiled another momentous milestone in the culinary world, right in the heart of Cotai, Macau.
Earlier this month, Macau was designated as the UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. Since then, the world has been eyeing Macanese cuisine with increased interest and eager palates. Chef Ducasse says he believes in the growth and preservation of Macau’s 400-year-old culinary legacy and thus embarked on an extensive project with City of Dreams. The premier resort is teaming up with Chef Ducasse to launch not one but two restaurants and a bar at the highly anticipated Morpheus hotel. The hotel is designed by world-renowned architecture heavyweight Zaha Hadid, who has created Morpheus to be the world’s first free-form exoskeleteon high-rise.
French-born Monégasque chef Alain Ducasse is one of the world’s most decorated chefs and the holder of a dazzling18 Michelin stars. He worked with Lawrence Ho, Chairman and CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment, on the project, and they share a common attribute: a keen eye for design. With plans for the restaurants to occupy the entire third floor of Morpheus, Chef Ducasse emphasises the importance of design in his brand. He stresses that diners should, first and foremost, appreciate the restaurant’s creative concept before then enjoying the cuisine. To accomplish this, he has been working closely with Parisian design agency Jouin Manku for the past 15 years to design the perfect experiences for his guests. Jarlath Lynch, Senior Vice President of Hotels and Food & Beverage of Melco Resorts & Entertainment, said, “Mr Ducasse is very much involved in the design of his restaurants at Morpheus. He signs off everything on this floor. From the plates, to the toilets, to the tap, every detail focuses on the quality. They are not only inspiring but also very imaginative and creative.”
When queried on the new establishment in Macau and why the City of Dreams in particular, Chef Ducasse pipped, “I already have a long-standing chemistry with Lawrence. It is time to make that partnership happen!” He followed up, chuckling, “The gastronomy scene here in Macau is also very competitive. Ten years ago, if you’d asked me, I would agree that the focus on the culinary culture is undoubtedly Hong Kong. But, recently, the spotlight has been shifted to Macau. The city has some of the best global restaurants, and it is always a phenomenal experience when diners come to visit.”
City of Dreams will be the only hotel in Asia to feature two restaurants by the master chef. The first, Voyages by Alain Ducasse, is a new concept tailor-made for City of Dreams. Chef Ducasse cited that this restaurant is one of his special projects, which also fits into the landscape of Macau. It will offer a contemporary yet unique take on Asian cuisines inspired by Ducasse’s culinary discoveries over the past 30 years. The second restaurant, Alain Ducasse at Morpheus, will serve up the signatures that the chef is renowned for back in Paris and Monaco – French contemporary haute cuisine. He shared his reasons for the familiar theme, “It wouldn't be right to try to contain French cuisine to the world of gastronomy. French food is rich and plural, from bistros to fine dining. Paris, for example, is very dynamic, and bistronomy (bistro and gastronomy) is also increasing popular. We want to share that with everyone.”
Chef Ducasse is also staunch in his philosophy on maintaining the same standards for his restaurants. “I trained my collaborators, who in turn trained their own. We have close to 30 collaborators today. The chain of human factors is essential, and our greatest asset is human resources: our chefs, pastry chefs, maître ds and sommeliers are all important. That is where we place a lot of our energy, and training is how we want to continue maintaining the quality.”
But despite drawing close to the completion of this immense project, Chef Ducaase is not slowing down. He proudly shared some of his new ventures – we can anticipate the launch of a chocolate factory in Tokyo next April and, also next year, a chocolate shop in London.
He takes great pride in his Michelin stars across his 24 restaurants worldwide and credits this as one of the most positive experiences in his culinary journey. “It’s always a good motivation. It's good for the public, for the owner, for the chef. Cooking is an expertise, but we also need to preserve its DNA and use it as a base to be creative and innovative,” he concluded. “Everyone is an actor. We need to continue to be innovative and creative in cuisine. And we need to be committed, remain curious and think about the next steps.”