Food events/ Meeting celebrity chefs and hosts

{Event} “In conversation with Alain Ducasse” hosted by Chef Chuck Hughes at George Brown College

Event: Q & A with Michelin Star Chef Alain Ducasse, tickets $25
Address: Theatre 406, 290 Adelaide St. E. and Grand Atrium 300 Adelaide St. E., George Brown College, Toronto ON
When I attended: Oct. 15th, 2014

When I got an invite to attend an event hosted by the very talented and funny Chef Chuck Hughes, I was already intrigued. Knowing that he would be curating a conversation with world renowned Alain Ducasse, it was a done deal. I had to attend! Alain Ducasse is a pretty big deal in the chef world. He was the first chef to carry 3 Michelin Stars in three cities and holds one of the most Michelin stars in the world throughout his career.

I attended the event with my blogger friend Linda of Starving Foodie, also a Chef Hughes fan of course. The first hour was held in a packed auditorium at George Brown College where Director of George Brown’s Chef School John Higgins did the introductions. At the Q & A session, Chef Hughes did an excellent job trying to break the ice and engage Alain Ducasse in conversation.

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Some things I learned about Alain Ducasse at the Q & A session:

  • Favourite seasons? Spring and Autumn
  • If we wasn’t a chef, what would he do? Be a traveler or an architect
  • What does “local” mean to him? Not to import produce from France to his international restaurants. The opposite of globalization.
  • Will he open a restaurant in Canada? No, there is too much competition.
  • What would be his last meal on earth? Red mullet, grilled with no salt.

RECEPTION:

After the Q & A session, we had a wine and cheese reception and an opportunity to get books signed by the Chefs. At the reception, there was a huge arrangement of cheese to go with the bread from Petite Thuet. I was in cheese heaven!

Chef Chuck Hughes and I at George Brown College

Chef Chuck Hughes and I at George Brown College

 

BOOK SIGNING:

With the popularity of both chefs, the line ups to purchase the books and to get them signed by the Chefs was a long one, which meant the event went over the expected 2 hour time slot. There were two separate lines for the respective Chefs.  Like many other book signing sessions, the name(s) of who we want the Chef to address the book to, is placed inside the cover page using a sticky note to help move the lines quickly.

Chucks line was moving at a slightly slower rate because he made the time to chat and take selfies with his eager fans. Alain Ducasse’s line was moving at a quicker rate because there was little action on the Chef’s end.

Chef Chuck Hughes and I at George Brown College

Chef Chuck Hughes and I at George Brown College

I watched Alain Ducasse during the book signing session.  He would look at the sticky note, write the person’s name, sign his name, close the book and push the book forward to the fan without looking up. Actually, he did not look at his fans once and kept his head turned towards a woman he was sitting with the entire time. He was smiling and chatting with her in French throughout the book signing session. I was really taken back by that!

Alain Ducasse during the book signing

Alain Ducasse during the book signing

 

I was near the back of the line and had a game plan to make Alain Ducasse look up for once. I ended up closing the book he signed (I did it a polite way of course), pulled out my hand to greet him and stared at him in the eye. He looked a little surprised. Linda had the better tactic, she spoke to him in French forcing him to look up at her. As I watched other fans line up, they were likely too shy to say anything to him. Maybe Alain Ducasse was not used to book signing sessions as it can be very draining signing books after books, but we made the time to show our support.

There is no doubt that Alain Ducasse will continue to have a successful career and will be well known in the Chef world but he can definitely learn to work on his charm. As for the handsome Chef Hughes, I am still a big fan!

As for the event, hanging out with Linda, eating tons of cheese and seeing Chuck made it worthwhile!

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