For over 25 years, Chef Yannick Alléno has surprised and delighted the world of gastronomy, offering a refined, ingenious and mastered vision of contemporary cuisine. Awarded three Michelin stars since 2007, Alléno also boasts an incredible and imaginative mind when it comes to the culinary arts. He introduced the a completely different form to create sauces, which he has dubbed “extractions.”
Alléno is also responsible for “bringing the most emblematic book of its generation, Ma Cuisine Française.” Noted as “the best of 25 years of Yannick Alléno’s creations, a bible of the contemporary French gastronomy, it is composed of more than 1200 pages and 500 recipes.”
At the age of fifteen, Alléno began dedicating nearly all of his time to the art of cooking and tasked himself with learning from with the best chefs he could find. His career began at the Royal Monceau, from where he then transitioned to the Hotel Sofitel Sèvres.
Alléno loves to innovate and create new ways to best harvest the most delicious of tastes from the food that he creates. A consummate professional, he frequently cites his discipline and fondness for challenging the status quo as the pathway to his unrivaled success.
Truly one of the most heralded chefs across the globe, Yannick Alléno carved out some time to discuss his culinary career with our Dr. Nasrine Abushakra.
Tell us about your personal experience of working as a chef in the Middle East?
Being a chef in the Middle East has provided me with so much inspiration. As a matter of fact, the temperature all year long as well as the culinary habitudes are very different from my French culture, and I have loved being challenged by the local clientele.
Why did you decide to work in the Middle East?
One&Only Resorts is an amazing brand to work with, which offers awe-inspiring luxury and world-class facilities and amenities. I really care about the offering, and working alongside them for the launch of my STAY restaurant in the Middle East has been and is still a wonderful experience. As a matter of fact, I took benefit from their historical presence in the region and they’ve helped me to understand the needs and the expectations of the local clientele. My work as a chef has been to bring my culture and my culinary education to Dubai, in order to showcase my vision of French cuisine.
For those not familiar with your menu, please can you tell us about it?
STAY restaurant at One&Only The Palm is a modern brasserie, from which everybody can enjoy a simple dish or a more sophisticated experience. I wanted to create a place where everyone will be welcomed and will enjoy a fantastic culinary experience amongst us. After three years of working, we are now ready to propose our clientele who visits STAY at One&Only The Palm, a new and innovative experience of food&extractions pairing. Thanks to an innovative process, that led to a pattern, Extractions allows us to express the real taste of each product, so guests can experience the true taste, right down to the very texture.
The first step is to extract the taste of individual products, either fruits or vegetables, by cooking them under vacuum at a specific temperature and time, which results in extraordinary flavors. Filtered and reduced by freezing, the respective flavored distillates concentrate the taste of the product with incredible strength and intensity, highlighting its natural salinity and minerality. Then all that remains is the most exciting of tasks for a chef, the phase of creating and identifying perfect pairings to match the food. The taste was so interesting, that the distillates of flavours became as intense as any of the traditional beverages used for pairing. You have to come to STAY and try!
What do you think of the culinary scene in Dubai?
The culinary scene everywhere in the world is booming and more active than ever. Dubai has not been spared and is right in the middle of the global enthusiasm about food. The Dubai culinary scene is particularly rich and innovative; from concept restaurants to signature bars, the competition is tough and challenges us every day to pursue our effort and enrich our creativity in the quest for excellence.
What is your favorite restaurant aside from STAY?
I do like Lasserre, Petit Maison, but also Reflets from Pierre Gagnaire or Gordon Ramsay. There is also a fine collection of restaurants at One&Only Royal Mirage, and guests in Dubai are spoilt for choice. I believe that we have to be aware of each new initiative and never underestimate the competition.
How do you spend your leisure time?
I have little time off as my work is my passion ; however, in the weekends, when I am in Paris, I do enjoy staying with my family and going to the market; drinking good wines and cooking for my closest ones. You know…as a chef…no one has never invited me at home for dinner!
What are the three ingredients you must have in your kitchen?
I do care about products that many people do not like to consider as “noble” products. As a matter of fact, I really enjoyed the idea of working recently around really simple products such as leek, artichoke and corn.
What inspired you to become a chef?
I was very bad at school and as I used to go to see my grand-mother Zelie in Lozere (centre of France) where she was living in a farm. She taught me the right taste of the things and the passion of good food. Right after, my parents, who always get bistros in Paris showed me that becoming a chef could be a great opportunity. I started working at 13 years old and I’ve never stopped since then. To tell you the truth I’ve never seen myself doing something different from cooking….I guess I was born to do this.
What can we expect from you next?
My ambition is really to continue pushing the boundaries and positioning STAY as a food reference in town. I believe we have all the ingredients in our hands, location, staff, food, products…let’s make a great recipe!