Think of the biggest cookbook in your kitchen. It may run to a few hundred pages, and have recipes covering all occasions from breakfast to brunch to evening canapes. It might be too big to carry around, needing instead to be propped up against a wall, its pages turned with kitchen tongs. That book has nothing on Ma Cuisine Française. Renowned French master Yannick Alléno's life's work has been committed to these pages, and what pages they are. The book itself weighs an almighty 17 kilograms, and contains years of Alléno's genius in the kitchen. Five hundred recipes and 2,000 stunning photographs cover every inch of the 1,500 pages - and the sheer size of the book means that it's measured in inches and feet, rather than millimetres and centimetres. Only 1,000 copies of this incredible tome have been made. Chef Alléno tells LUXHABITAT: "I decided to store images for six years now. I had more than 1,000 recipes and pictures. I am very rigorous in my food so when I did a creation, I took time to take a picture and write perfectly what it was. It was a time for me to bring all these recipes inside and to really try to have a critical eye on each one. It was time for me to understand that I have to do something differently."
"Differently" for Alléno means different to his day job, which was running progressively bigger and bigger restaurants, to the point where he was awarded his third Michelin star in 2007. From that point on, the key was to pick the right project - not necessarily the biggest. The right project at the moment is Dubai's One&Only, The Palm. Alléno oversees all three eateries in the hotel: Zest, the 101 Dining Lounge and the signature restaurant, STAY (we're told this is an acronym for Simple-Table Alléno-Yannick). STAY is a dimly lit, luxurious and welcoming space that has the chef's mark all over it. The hotel pulled off a major coup in convincing Alléno to put his name to the restaurants, but he is effusive in his praise for the location. "I fell in love with the project," he says, "It's very tough to find that kind of project in Dubai. 90 rooms, the higher end of luxury in town, and the higher payroll you can find. The project matched perfectly for me with my love of luxury things".
Dubai's reputation as a global destination for the very best chefs in the world is burgeoning. Soon there will be fewer and fewer three-Michelin starred chefs who have not brought some of their expertise to the Middle East. When asked about Dubai's place in the culinary world, Alléno says this: "Dubai is making its own noise. People expect to have a high level of food, and I am very impressed about the level of food in Dubai."