The executive chef at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester describes his favourite festive traditions.
Jean-Philippe Blondet has been Executive Chef at the triple-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, since January 2016. The Nice-born chef trained with Ducasse for over a decade and has learned from him, he says, enormous respect for people and produce. He describes a recent zero-waste dish he created from cauliflower, aged Comté and black truffle, which was well received.
One of Blondet's favourite times of the year is the festive season, and thanks to the excellent team in charge, he is still able to feast with his family on Christmas day.
He shares with us what it will look like.
What is your most redolent childhood memory at Christmas?
The roasted chestnuts on open fire pit. Chestnuts when ready, were served with a capon (a rooster, castrated to make it tastier) and potato gratin. This brings back memories when I was helping to prepare the meal with my mum.
What will you be eating and drinking over the festive period?
I cook everything for Christmas Dinner but I prep most of it the day before, so there are just a few things to finalise when I get home from work at 5pm. We start with some smoked salmon, foie gras and oysters followed by a roasted poultry (capon),with roasted chestnut and potato gratin. For the dessert, we will be having the traditional yule log. We pair the food with champagne, and a mix between a white wine, usually sauvignon blanc and sémillon or a light red wine. For champagne, I like blanc de blancs, 100% chardonnay style as well as prestigious cuvée like Dom Pérignon. For white wines, I really enjoyed a Bordeaux Blanc but I also love some French classics such as Meursault or Chassagne-Montrachet. For red wine, I like the Rhône Valley style.
What is your favourite moment of the holiday?
I do really enjoy spending time with my wife and young son over Christmas, decorating the house and Christmas tree, decorating cookies. But what I am the most grateful about is to be able to watch my son opening his presents on Christmas Day morning. After that, I go into work at 8am and spend most of Christmas Day with my second family, the team of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.
How do the staff at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester celebrate Christmas?
The team gathers for breakfast on Christmas Day and after service we cheers together and have a few bites. Also, we have organised a Secret Santa which gives everyone the opportunity to receive a gift even whilst being away from their family. There is a massive Christmas tree installed in the lobby as well as many Christmas decorations everywhere, and I love the Christmas carols.