Alain Ducasse is a nine-star Michelin chef, with two of his restaurants, in Paris and Monaco, boasting three each. He was in Hong Kong recently to visit his restaurant Spoon at the InterContinental Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui.
What's your favourite restaurant in Hong Kong? 'The best Chinese meals I've ever had are here, at Yan Toh Heen [a restaurant at the hotel]. I loved it even before we opened Spoon here. I love the variety and the quality, the food is full of flavour. It's different from the Chinese food we get in France; we can't get the same products there.'
Do you have a favourite cuisine? 'French and Chinese. They're the cuisines that use the finest products and techniques; they have so many different ways to cook and an infinite variety of flavours. The Chinese and French eat all the time; for them, eating is a pleasure, not a necessity.'
What was the first thing you ever cooked? 'A buche de Noel [Christmas log] when I was 12. There was chocolate and flour and butter everywhere. It was not very pretty but the taste was good.'
What's your favourite restaurant in the world? 'In Sydney it's Tetsuya's, in Chicago it's Charlie Trotter's. In Europe, there are so many it's difficult to pick just one.'
Do you have a favourite Alain Ducasse restaurant? 'The first [of his three-star restaurants], Le Louis XV in Monaco and then whichever is the last one we opened - Spoon in Carthage, Tunisia.'
What's the most difficult aspect of your work? 'Maintaining consistency, making sure we keep the same high quality, every day.'
And the best? 'Discovering different places, cultures
Do you have a favourite dish among your own creations? 'It's a vegetable dish with black truffles that we serve at Le Louis XV. It has all the vegetables of the season, between 15 and 20 types on one plate. It takes a lot of time; every vegetable has to be prepared in a different way before being reunited with the others.'
What do you eat as comfort food? 'Nutella [a hazelnut and chocolate spread]. In Mix, New York, we serve madeleines with Nutella to spread on top; I love it
What's your idea of a perfect meal and who would you share it with? 'It's a meal I would cook myself to share with my girlfriend Gwenaelle. We would go to the market and decide what to eat depending on what we see. It depends on the season and where we are.'