PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 19: Chef of the event, Alain Ducasse attends the Grand Dinner of the Louvre on November 19, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
How Alain Ducasse Inspired The Cheesecake Factory's Mac & Cheese Balls
By Arianna Endicott
The Cheesecake Factory's Fried Macaroni and Cheese start with pasta and cheese shaped into balls, then coated with breadcrumbs and fried. If you've tried the dish, you may already know that they serve the balls on a plate of marinara sauce topped with more cheese, but what you might not know is that the dish draws its inspiration from French chef Alain Ducasse.
Per Vox, Ducasse created a terrine — a loaf-shaped food made entirely of macaroni and cheese — which inspired Brandon Cook, the Executive Chef of The Cheesecake Factory's test kitchen, to replicate it. The chefs at the test kitchen did replicate the dish but needed a way to reheat it for customers, so they breaded and fried it out of necessity, and the method worked.
Cook said that even though customers initially rejected the dish, making it the lowest-performing menu item upon launch, it's now the second-best-selling appetizer offered by the chain. He also told the outlet that Ducasse, who operates 34 of his own restaurants worldwide, is a "huge fan" of The Cheesecake Factory.