Senderens was born in Hyères, Var, France and completed secondary school in Labatut-Rivière. Before moving to Paris, he apprenticed at the Ambassador Hotel in Lourdes. In Paris, Senderens worked at well-known restaurants La Tour d'Argent and Lucas Carton, which he would later own. He later became the sous-chef at a Hilton restaurant near Orly Airport.
In 1968, Alain Senderens opened L'Archestrate in Paris, which he operated until 1985. In 1978, the restaurant earned three Michelin stars. He was the chef at Lucas Carton from 1985 until 2005, when he acquired ownership of the restaurant and renamed it Senderens. In 2005, he became the first chef to hand back his three Michelin stars after the restaurant was relaunched. At the time he said he could not charge an affordable price for meals while keeping up the standards Michelin required. As a result, Senderens stated that the customers pay a third of the former prices, return more often, generating profits that were nearly four times of what they were. Despite handing back his three star rating, Senderens was later awarded two stars by Michelin. In 2013, Senderens sold the restaurant, which reverted to its Lucas Carton name.
The New York Times called him a founding father of Nouvelle Cuisine and he is recognized as a pioneer of food and wine pairings. Senderens trained a number of notable chefs, including: Alain Passard, who took over L'Archestrate and renamed it Arpège, Alain Solivérès of Taillevent, Christian Le Squer of Le Cinq, and Christopher Hache of Hôtel de Crillon.
- "Le chef Alain Senderens s'est éteint". Le Figaro. 27 June 2017.
- "Le chef étoilé Alain Senderens est mort". Dernières Nouvelle d'Alsace. 26 June 2017.
- Grimes, William (27 June 2017). "Alain Senderens, a Chef Who Modernized French Food, Dies at 77". The New York Times.
- "Alain Senderens, un Temps d'Avance". Liberation (in French). 27 June 2017.
- Kibar, Osman, DN.no (7 April 2008). "Kokkekamp om Michelin-stjerner" (in Norwegian).