- The Quest of Alain Ducasse
- Directed by: Gilles de Maistre
- Written by: Eric Roux and Gilles de Maistre
- Classification: N/A
- 90 minutes
As Alain Ducasse samples modest fare in a traditional Japanese restaurant and quietly declares this one of the 20 best meals of his life, you finally get some idea of what drives the French chef with the 21 Michelin stars. He rejoices in a perfect palette; growing up on a farm in southern France, his family ate mainly vegetables because they sold all the meat. Today, he travels ceaselessly, from Mongolia to Brazil, to source the best ingredients – or discover a new business opportunity to add to his chain of more than 30 restaurants.
Tagging along as Ducasse juggles international travel with the opening of a restaurant in the Palace of Versailles, documentarian Gilles de Maistre follows a subject who is indefatigably polite, always encouraging to his staff and completely private: if there are ever any Gordon-Ramsay-like dramatics in these kitchens, de Maistre never caught them. Foodies will enjoy the window into fancy restaurants but, without any interviews other than Ducasse, the documentary never questions the evolution of the chef into a peripatetic artistic director rather than an actual cook, nor the realism of professing environmental frugality in a three-star setting.
The Quest of Alain Ducasse opens June 8 in Toronto, and is also available on iTunes on video-on-demand