Alain Passard of Arpège in Paris has been awarded TheDiners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award 2016. This honour is part of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, which will take place on June 13th at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan – the first time the event has taken place in New York in its 14-year history.
Passard, 59, celebrates the 30th anniversary of his globally acclaimed Paris restaurant this year. As well as holding three Michelin stars for 20 years, Arpège has also regularly appeared in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list over the last decade. This award reflects the high esteem in which the chef and his singular restaurant are held across the gastronomic community worldwide.
Originally from Brittany, Passard learned to cook with his grandmother, deciding to become at chef at the age of 15. He began his career at Le Lion d’Or in Liffré, where he worked from 1971 to 1975 and was exposed to the art of classical French cuisine.
He went on to work in a number of high-profile restaurants including L’Archestrate, owned by the highly respected chef Alain Senderens, who became his mentor. Passard eventually bought L’Archestrate and renamed it Arpège in tribute to his love of music.
Vegetables have been the centrepiece at Arpège since 2001, after Passard made the decision to remove red meat from the menu. In 2002, the restaurant’s first vegetable garden was put together in Fillé sur Sarthe, later joined by two further gardens where the restaurant cultivates its own organic produce.
On receiving news of this award, Alain Passard said: “A big thank you to all the chefs, maîtres d'hôtel and sommeliers who have worked with me and helped me to shape the cuisine of Arpège. The most beautiful cookbook is dictated by nature, and we are merely the spokesmen inspired by that.”
William Drew, Group Editor of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, said, “We are delighted to be able to present this prestigious award to one of France’s most pioneering, influential and respected chefs. Alain Passard has led the way in making vegetables the stars of the plate, creating extraordinary and highly individual dishes at his elegant 7th arrondissement restaurant. This award is recognition of his unique talent and creative spirit.”
Commenting on Passard’s nomination, Sheryl Yasger, Vice President of Global Ad Brand and Marketing for Diners Club® International, said: “We are proud to recognise Alain Passard’s accomplishments and substantial influence in the world of fine dining through the Lifetime Achievement Award. It’s an honour for Diners Club International to share in his recognition through our partnership with The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and sponsorship of this award.”
As the recipient of The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award, Alain Passard joins a long line of celebrated chefs from across the world who have been honoured over the last decade, including France’s Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse and Jöel Robuchon, as well as Juan Mari Arzak, Alice Waters, Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller.