Alain Ducasse Votes for Vegetables

August 22, 2011 | by —A.M | Food & Drink News


A slow-cooked egg over poached asparagus

 
  Alain Ducasse
 
  Strawberry composition with marmalade and mint ice cream

Alain Ducasse isn’t like other chefs. Many like to talk about pork, bacon or any iteration of swine. Ducasse likes to talk about vegetables. Sexy, verdant vegetables.

Yes, the master French chef has a thing for fresh produce. It’s a passion he has pursued in the kitchens of his global restaurant empire—spanning from Monaco to Tokyo to Washington, DC—for decades. That is why at Ducasse’s elegant DC eatery, Adour, tucked inside the St. Regis, you can dine very well without consuming an ounce of pork, beef or even fish. Earlier this year, Adour executive chef Julien Jouhannaud debuted a strictly vegetarian tasting menu, celebrating the best of the season’s produce in five courses.

The new menu is part of a larger meat-free trend that is changing the way chefs think. Vegetarians, once relegated to afterthought status with plates of veg du jour, are fi nally earning the respect of fi ne-dining restaurants. Across DC, haute temples like CityZen, 2941 and Komi are looking to the garden for inspiration and catering to patrons who eschew meat. “I am passionate about utilizing locally sourced products and ingredients, and I am always searching for the freshest available,” says Jouhannaud. “I particularly love evolving the menu each season and giving our guests a reason to come back.”

Adour’s new vegetarian tasting menu includes dishes such as tender poached asparagus framing a soft, slow-cooked egg, and plump morels nestled on top of creamy risotto made from carnaroli rice. Talented pastry chef Fabrice Bendano crafts sweet endings, like roasted pineapple with caramelized puff pastry, rice pudding and rum coconut ice cream. The fi ve-course veg feast is priced at $65—and don’t miss the chance to pair the meat-free meal with wunderkind sommelier Brent Kroll’s wine pairings.

Another testament to Ducasse’s vegetable passion: his signature Cookpot dish, available as an appetizer. The custom-designed porcelain vessel, which uses vegetables’ own moisture to enhance the cooking, is on the menu at every one of the celebrated chef’s restaurants. What goes into it depends on the season and the place. 923 16th St. NW, 202-509-8000

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GREG POWERS

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