Legendary French chef Alain Ducasse made a return visit to Bangkok recently, nicely coinciding with the triumphant third anniversary of Blue by Alain Ducasse restaurant, the contemporary fine dining venue that bears his name. Among the many on hand to welcome him was the restaurant’s acclaimed Executive Chef, Wilfrid Hocquet, who has been helming the kitchen here since Blue first opened its doors.
Located in the glamorous ICONLUXE portion of ICONSIAM, with magnificent views overlooking the Chao Phraya River, this chic and sophisticated fine dining hotspot combines the culinary vision that underscores Monsieur Ducasse’s classical French dishes, with the creative twist of Chef Wilfrid’s modern and minimalist touch. By merging these two elements, Blue by Alain Ducasse has forged its own unique identity, delivering unforgettable fine dining experiences in the process.
In recognition of its culinary excellence, the restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star for three consecutive years now, and Monsieur Ducasse just happened to be in Bangkok on November 24th to see Chef Wilfrid and his team being given this outstanding honour for the third time. In addition, the restaurant also claimed the No.25 spot on the prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Pretty incredible achievements for a restaurant that first launched in December 2019, mere months before the Coronavirus outbreak would bring the world to its knees (and, in turn, force Blue by Alain Ducasse to close for six months).
Despite all the challenges 2020 posed, Chef Wilfrid continued to find new ways to develop the menu and in December of that year he found himself in the winner’s circle when the Thailand Michelin Guide for 2021 was unveiled. At a post-award luncheon that day, Prestige caught up with the then 41-year-old chef who, although born in Canada, spent his humble childhood years in the Montpellier region of France.
“After one year open, but quite a few months of that time spent closed, we are all very happy to be recognised for the hard work,” the chef remarked after that first win. “But honestly, we came back stronger. We returned to work feeling like we’d been open for two years. The break brought us to another level.”
The restaurant’s ongoing prosperity, as Monsieur Ducasse also strongly emphasises, is “due to good partnership” – meaning their triumphs also belong to the support of the ICONSIAM team and the extended Blue family. Adding to that success, Blue by Alain Ducasse has also received two prizes for its stunning interiors (courtesy of Jouin Manku, a design agency in Paris that has constructed all of Alain Ducasse’s three-Michelin-starred restaurants). It was first gifted the ‘Best of the Year Honoree 2020’ award, in the fine dining category, and later the ‘Le France Design 100 Award’ in 2022. Needless to say, the atmosphere and environment at Blue is a huge part of the overall sensory delight.
To honour the many successes of this world-class gastronomic destination, an exclusive invite-only party was held at ICONSIAM on November 23, 2022, with many of Thailand’s high society mavericks and celebrities in attendance – alongside Chef Alain Ducasse himself. Two days later, on November 25, the restaurant offered an incredible one-day-only, four-hand, six-course lunch and dinner menu, priced at THB 15,000++, which was created by the ‘Mentor Chef’ himself, in tandem with his mentee, Chef Wilfrid Hocquet.
Looking ahead, Chef Wilfrid says he wants to bring back some classic dishes and shorten the current menu by splitting it into two different menus, so that customers can either choose to try something new, or simply enjoy their old favourites. “We want to stay affordable for people to have a real fine dining experience,” he explained. In addition, Alain Ducasse also announced an exciting future development in the works involving the development of a “chocolate craftsmanship here in Bangkok”.
While fine dining is primarily about the food, the culture, service, and every little detail behind it all is what contributes to making the experience unforgettable. It starts from the deep-rooted passion of the culinary artisans who devote their lives to their work, whether in terms of wine, service, or juggling things in the kitchen. As Chef Wilfrid himself says, “it is the passionate people that make fine dining.”