Alain Ducasse (left) and Joël Robuchon sharing the spotlight (photo by Steve Dolinsky)
Well this certainly doesn't happen very often. Two of the culinary world's greatest palates and minds shared expediting duties at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London last night, cooking dinner for me (and my 25 colleagues from around the world), as part of our annual meeting at the "World's 50 Best Restaurants" event here. To put it in sports terms, it would be like Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax pitching the same game, with Ryan taking the first few innings, then handing it over to Koufax, then Ryan closing things out.
The dining room at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester (photo by Steve Dolinsky)
Coquilles Saint-Jacquest et morilles (photo by Steve Dolinsky)
Robuchon, meanwhile, turned out a mindblowing amuse of l’Oursin sur un fondant de carotte à la bergamote en fine gelée (sea urchin and carrot gelee) then followed it up with a third course called le Zephyr au fromage – a lighter-than-air cheese dome covered with the most precisely-cut black truffle crescents; a ring of chopped truffle with a gold leaf-encrusted piece of popcorn rested along the rim of the plate.
Le Zephyr au fromage (photo by Steve Dolinsky)
The reason we were all here, was to prep for tonight's "50 Best Awards" announcement, held at the historic Guildhall in London. The organizers have divided the world up into 26 regions. Every year, each of the 26 Regional Judges asks 30 judges within their region, to vote for five restaurants - three of which are from their region, two from anywhere else - and they must have eaten in them sometime in the past 18 months. The 30 judges in the region are broken up equally into chefs, restaurateurs and writers. That means there are more than 800 votes in all. It's actually pretty cool to see all of the judges in one room, talking about the world's greatest restaurants.
World's 50 Best Academy Meeting
It always reminds me of the Justice League of America. You know, the greatest minds and superheroes of the world, all coming together for a common cause...