Interview

with Gwenaëlle Ducasse radiant and lovely parisienne

The wife and inspiration of Alain Ducasse, mother of three and pioneer in her own right of all things healthy and nutritious.
We met in St. Jean de Luz, a place close to her heart and where she finds serenity with her family, to share a few of her thoughts and favorite places in Paris.

Tell us about your passion for healthy eating and its origin?

It all began in my childhood. My mother cooked in a healthy way as my father had high blood pressure. Our comfort food and snacks were salads, vegetables and fruits. She used very little salt and butter. I therefore developed the desire and craving for healthy foods from a young age.

You are a big believer in tea as an integral part of your diet. Can you share thoughts about this and special places for tea in Paris?

Yes, drinking tea has become vital to my daily routine. I only drink Japanese sencha or genmai cha green tea. It has astringent taste and cleanses the body from the inside. I start my day with a large pot of it!
There is a new tea house called Maison de The Lupicia  (originally from Tokyo). They have a large selection of fresh and high quality Japanese teas.

IChi Nei Tsang is a form of stomach massage and is one of my main wellness practices.

You have been studying meditation for many years. Please share a memorable trip you took to study meditation and how it has inspired your wellness regime.

For most of my adult life, I have studied meditation practices. My most memorable trip was to Thailand to Tao Garden in Chiang Mai to study Chi Nei Tsang and Taoist meditation.
Chi Nei Tsang is a form of stomach massage and is one of my main wellness practices. The stomach is our second brain and if not balanced, it can affect the entire body. After a session, I notice an immediate rejuvenation within my entire body and mind.

You have such a natural radiance. Tell us how you care for your skin?

Thank you. I attribute so much of this to my healthy eating habits.
I always try to buy the freshest produce and ingredients and feel that this makes a significant difference.
I am especially mindful that certain ingredients play specific roles in our bodies.

For my facials, I am fond of Francoise Morice. They have their own particular method of using the hands for stimulating and massaging the face.
The products I use most often at home are from Margy’s of Monaco. All the products are formulated in Switzerland and use the highest quality ingredients. The most amazing mask I have ever used is her Extra Rich Firming Mask and I also use the Prestige Triple Concentrate Serum. I buy her products in Paris at Pharmacie Anglaise .

If you have a morning free in Paris, what would it look like?

I would have breakfast on the gallery at the Plaza Athenee  and I would order Japanese green tea and the Cook Pot of Fruits and Cereal. This is my favorite and gives me energy for the day.
I might also take a walk through the Bois de Boulogne to an enchanting area called Pre Catelan. It’s very peaceful there and great for meditating. I love to have picnics in this spot! I like also the Courrèges Café Blanc for their Nubio juices.

What are a few of your favorite shops in Paris?

Courrèges Pop Store for notebooks and handbags.
Colette for new high tech and Japanese gadgets and top of the line cosmetics.
Arty Dandy for unique and edgy art and fashion.
L’Ecume des Pages for books.
L’Ecole des Loisirs for a wonderful and extensive selection of childrens’ books.

Yes, I love chocolate! Here is my secret. The more concentrated the chocolate, the less I actually crave

You have always been health conscious and kept sugar to a minimum. With your love of chocolate, how do you manage this?

Yes, I love chocolate!
Here is my secret. The more concentrated the chocolate, the less I actually crave. I happen to like 100% black chocolate. It is very bitter but delicious! I can eat a small amount and it naturally stops my craving for more.
I love chocolate in its purest form.
As my husband recently opened a chocolate factory Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse Manufacture , I am fortunate to experience and taste different combinations of ingredients which are all selected by the manufacturer and processed on site in Paris.
My favorite chocolate tablet from the factory is called Fourre Praline Croustillant Mousse Caramel.

Your hair is glistening. Tell us about your hair care routine?

I am a believer in hair treatments on a regular basis. There is a very special place in Paris which is only for treating the hair called L’Instant 2moss.
The masks and treatments with organic oils on the scalp are a must. Their hairbrushes are also incredible. They untangle the hair and massage the scalp to leave your hair light and healthy. The experience here is divine.
Hair is a vital part of a woman’s image and the care of it is crucial, especially with the damaging elements of our environment.
For personalized hair treatments, I also recommend Eric Dechoux.

When you eat carefully, you are taking care of your body and mind. I feel it is important to teach our children to care about the environment and to learn about the food they eat.

Tell us about your special Wellness practices.

Breakfast is the most important part of my day. Lately, I have been preparing a recipe from a German female doctor of the early 1900s named Dr. Kousmine. The Kousmine-Budwig cream mixes organic ingredients into a type of cream and is a source of energy for me and protects my health. www.budwigcenter.com

Health from within is your mantra. Can you share some of your thoughts on this?

I teach my children to eat for pleasure and also for their health.
I have taken inspiration from my extensive travels around the world and learned from so many different cultures.
In particular, I am inspired by the culture of Japan. For example, in a traditional Japanese meal they serve food that is pretty, flavorful and nutritious. The experience is not one dimensional. A Food cannot be eaten just for taste. When you eat carefully, you are taking care of your body and mind. I feel it is important to teach our children to care about the environment and to learn about the food they eat.

Katie von Strasser

Katie von Strasser is a former ballerina with a background in fashion and art. She is a devoted advocate for people with disabilities. Katie has a passion for travel and all things beautiful.
She resides in San Francisco with her family. (Photo by Darryl Nitke)

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