Culinary Collaboration: Alain Ducasse and Albert Adrià Partner for a 100-Day Pop-Up in Paris - Food & Travel

“Just like what has been happening in fashion, it will be happening more in the food world.”

The food and beverage industry had to pivot to survive during the pandemic. While all your favorite casual restaurants started offering take-out or meal kits to prepare at home, it’s a different challenge for fine dining.

Ultimately, no tourists were visiting them, no celebrations held outside homes, and putting on their best shoes for dinner was nobody’s priority.

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As the most badly hit industry due to COVID, even celebrated chefs like Alain Ducasse and Alber Adria had to shut down their posh dining spots. Sadly, the former closed all six of his Barcelona restaurants, and debts were reported to top €8 million.

For 21-star Michelin chef Adria, after 21 years, his contract with Paris’ Hôtel Plaza Athénée was dropped last June. Shortly after, he called up Ducasse. “I said: ‘Albert, you must come to Paris,'” Adria told Bloomberg. “You closed your restaurants; I closed mine. We’re going to do something together.”

Cooking up sustainably

The culinary heavyweights then collaborated for ADMO, a 100-day pop-up taking over Ducasse’s restaurant Les Ombres, located on Paris’ Left Bank of the River Seine. 

ADMO offers a luxurious 15-course experience priced at €380 (almost P22,000), and sustainability was at the forefront of the chefs’ minds—“naturalness” was the main idea.

CHÂTAIGNE, ANCHOIS ET CURR (Galette of negrette chestnut from Ardeche shaved and oven-baked) / Photo from ADMO’s website.

Emitting meat, ADMO’s menu highlights vegetables, cereals, and sustainably fished seafood that’s seasonally available at the time. Despite Adria’s Spanish roots and Ducasse being French, the offerings include flavors from Italy, Mexico, and Japan.

In one dish, a light pressed caviar is served with almond-cerelac milk. Salted cod skin is turned into soba noodles for one of the mains. While for dessert, fresh persimmon lays in a rosehip condiment, calamansi vinegar, and persimmon paste sauce.

AMANDE, CELERI ET CAVIAR (Shadows and lights of pressed caviar and almond-celeriac milk) / Photo from ADMO’s website.

Its menu, which only exists until the pop-up closes in March 2, was developed with help from Adria’ executive chef Romain Meder, Chef Pâtissière Jessica Prealpato, and Dom Perignon’s cellar master Vincent Chaperon.

The future is pairing-up

One might wonder which chef thought up which menu item given the eclectic dishes. Adria’s known for molecular gastronomy, while Ducasse gets his reputation in classical or French cuisine. But according to Meder, the goal was to be unable to unpack each dish that way.

“We didn’t want one to create a dish and the other to create the next,” Meder told Fine Dining Lovers. “Customers would have spent their time comparing things instead of enjoying the moment.”

This luxury culinary collaboration is reminiscent of the many fashion house partnerships from the past two years—industry powerhouses joining forces to push forward into a future of “post-pandemic” days. “It’s collaboration time for the big fish in the food world,” Adria says. “Just like what has been happening in fashion, it will be happening more in the food world.”

Banner photo from @jwengorovius on Instagram

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