“I have always been in contact with many different cultures”: the secrets of Mauro Colagreco, the first chef crowned as a UNESCO ambassador

"I have always been in contact with many different cultures": the secrets of Mauro Colagreco, the first chef crowned as a UNESCO ambassador

From his stronghold at Menton, 12 works by the Moor

Arriving from Argentina in 2001, Mauro Colagreco, a graduate of La Rochelle hotel school, decided – after working with the great French chefs Bernard Loiseau, Alain Passard, Alain Ducasse and Guy Martin – to open his own house.

He will arrive there in April 2006, with the inauguration of “Mirazur”, after a few months earlier, in 2005, he discovered Menton and this place that dominates the Mediterranean.

Six months later, the Gault & Millau Guide already declared it the “Discovery of the Year”. And he didn’t stop. To work. Cook with passion, facing the sea, but always focused on the land. By creating gardens in Menton and Castillon. By processing his own fruits and vegetables there. By testing this or that variety, updating forgotten varieties like the Menton pink onion, with other biodiversity enthusiasts.

It continued to collect stars in the Michelin Guide, the first in 2007, the second in 2012 and up to number 3, as of 2019. In 2020, it even received the green macaron “Sustainable Gastronomy” from Michelin, and in the same year, it was the first a restaurant that received a plastic-free certificate by eliminating plastic from its establishment.

His restaurant “Mirazur” is not his only baby: a caterer in Monaco, two bakeries in Menton and Monaco, two more restaurants in Menton, “Casa fuego” and “Pecora Negra”, a restaurant at the airport in Nice, a pop-up restaurant in “Kulm hotel” in Saint-Moritz in winter… nothing can stop the chef.

One of his “babies”, the Ceto restaurant, has already starred

Among his latest babies, one of the two restaurants on the Maybourne Riviera in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, “Ceto”, has already received, a few months after opening, its first star in the Michelin guide, this year.

The young chef Andrea Moscardino, former meat and fish manager at Colagreco (2018 and 2019) works there, following the same principles as his mentor.

With a special, as in “Mirazur”, a chamber for maturing fish. A process that, behind the search for taste, corresponds to the values ​​of “responsible cooking” that is close to the heart of Mauro Colagreco.

Because the fact that he can store fish sometimes for several weeks, allows the chef to no longer depend on fishing and therefore does not need fresh fish every day.

The fish is also caught exclusively using four environmentally friendly techniques in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin that help conserve resources: traps, lines, gill nets and clam diving. He is like that, the head of “Mirazur”, like a researcher, who tests, does his experiments, always with the same goal: taste… and the planet.

“Luxury products that come from far away exotic countries are a version of luxury that is no longer relevant” he said again, this weekend, in Nice Matin.

If with all this there is still time to cook? “Until then, yes!” replies the chef, laughing.

“That’s something that excites me! And everything around is equally important.

Every time I see my children, I can look them in the eye, because I prove to them that we can all act, make a small change, which in the end is never small. Leave them a planet that isn’t too damaged and they can participate in… And they’ll even have to continue! »

Because, in his kitchens, as well as in his gardens, with his wife Julia, with whom he works, he does not forget the importance of other shoots, which make the happiness of his secret garden: his sons Lucca and Valentino.

“They give meaning to our lives… And they make us redouble our efforts in our commitment to biodiversity.”

“Menton, it is destiny…”

And to repeat, yesterday, my commitment to Menton and its region, its stronghold, now: “It’s a love story… Fate, almost, through which I fell into this beautiful city, this region of incomparable wealth. It’s a chance. There is incredible biodiversity here, diversity in nature, in culture, extraordinary. It’s very important and very inspiring…”

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