Renowned French chef Alain Ducasse has lodged a lawsuit, fighting against his eviction from the famed Jules Verne Restaurant at the top of the Eiffel Tower, after losing the tender to a pair of rival chefs.
The top chef, whose restaurants hold a cumulative 21 Michelin stars, was ousted from his position after he lost the tender to run the Jules Verne, as well as a brasserie on the first floor and snack counters, to fellow chefs Frederic Anton and Thierry Marx.
The site is operated by The Societe d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE), which for the past 10 years has leased the premise to French caterer Sodexo, which Ducasse had previously been tied to.
Prior to the lease ending, Ducasse moved to rival Elior Group SA, which proposed a counter bid to win the business off Sodexo, with Ducasse remaining at the helm should they win.
In July, SETE chose in favour of Sodexo to run the restaurant for the next 10 years, which in the meantime had signed up Anton and Marx to take Ducasse’s place in running both the Jules Verne Restaurant and the 58 brasserie below.
In a statement last month Anton and Marx said taking on the Eiffel Tower restaurant was their “wildest dream”.
SETE said it had been impressed by the pair’s proposition, which it said showed a “strong leap in terms of quality” with dining options that cater to all budgets. Currently, Ducasse’s five-course dinner menu costs €190 a head.
Fighting his eviction from the site, in court Ducasse’s lawyers argued that the 61-year-old was now “the most-starred chef in the world” after the death of fellow culinary legend Joel Robuchon earlier this month, as reported by The Local.
They accused the consulting company, used to rate the competing bids, of a conflict of interest, saying that it had in the past done consulting work for the company representing Anton and Marx, Sodexo.
Marx owns the two-star Sur Mesure restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Paris, while Anton is the chef of the three-star Le Pre Catalan restaurant in the Bois de Boulogne park west of Paris.
The pair are due to take over at the Jules Verne in October, if Ducasse’s legal challenge fails, with a decision expected on 28 August.
The Jules Verne Restaurant is perched 125m in the air, with spectacular views of Paris, and in July 2017 played host to French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump for a Bastille Day dinner.