Mauro Colagreco, the most Latin student of French haute cuisine

Mauro Colagreco, awarded with a third Michelin star 2019 for Le Mirazur in Menton, is the most Latin of new French chefs: from La Plata in Argentina, grandson of Italians, trains in France as a must. the Côte d & # 39; Azur.

On the podium of the Salle Gaveau in Paris he was confused in gratitude, tremolo's in his voice, to the address of his masters: "Ducasse, Alain Passard, Bernard (Loiseau)". "I am so honored, it is so emotional? Thanks!", He added, turning his face to his wife: "Thank you my love."

A rugby player, a singing accent, a team that mixes all nationalities and himself a polyglot, this Italo-Argentinian, assisted by his Brazilian wife Julia, who handles the entire administration, cosmopolitanism has made a mark on manufactures and his restaurant an enclave.

Is his kitchen Argentinian, Italian or French? Hard to say. Is she inspired by the sea, the mountains or the fruit and vegetables from her garden? Here too, the Menton terroir, famous for the softness of its microclimate, is a miracle.

Italy is a three minute walk away and does not have to choose: Mauro, 42, ensures that he gets the best of his three countries of origin.

As a good Argentinian, he has a say in meat, but plastronne with his recipe for pear, flooding on Instagram with photos from the many varieties of tomatoes that are grown in his garden and strives for the famous lemon from Menton.

"We leave some lemons in the tree so that they almost reach the size of a grapefruit, so they develop a white flesh under the skin.This interesting white texture, like an almost sweet sponge, is served raw or compote," he describes.

Arriving in the kitchen late after a brief entry into the world of accounting and figures in which his father evolved, Mauro Colagreco found his calling at the Gato Dumas Institute in Buenos Aires, before he left Argentina with a few first principles of French.

"I hesitated with Spain, for the language, and because of the + phenomenon + Ferran Adria (the Catalan cook who is known worldwide), but France remained the reference for the purchase of classic bases," he explains.

– Forced worker –

The hotel school at La Rochelle admits it, it does not stay there. After a first four months internship with Bernard Loiseau, he will take care of his internship and he will stay in the prestigious house until the suicide of the chef in 2003.

Other teachers will follow. With everyone the young man, forced laborer, adds a small stone to his building: "Passion and refinement of cooking methods" at Loiseau, "permanent creativity, sublimation of the vegetables" at Alain Passard in L & # 39; Arpege, "perfection and Absolute strictness" "at Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée in Paris.

After a year at the Grand Véfour in Paris he will once again hesitate to settle in Spain. But France is still essential when an acquaintance lets him discover the Mirazur, a villa from the 1930s with a roundabout suspended between heaven and sea, at the exit of Menton.

The revival of this table, closed three years after experiencing a spell under the spell of Jacques Chibois, was not an easy task. But some characters do not deceive: his grandmother & # 39; s Italy, who made extraordinary ravioli with spinach, ricotta, the brain of the calf, is a few meters away and in the garden flamboyant jacarandas bring it back to the images of his Argentine youth. .

Initially he thinks of three or four cards per season, all of which are thrown in the trash when he discovers the intoxicating smells and the luxuriant nature of this piece of Côte d'Azur. Mint, borage, rocket flower, tangy oxalys, nothing escapes him.

It is proclaimed by Gault & Millau in 2007 to & # 39; revelation of the year & # 39 ;, six months after the opening. The Michelin stars will follow, the first in 2007, the second in 2012 after a selection in 2009 at the 50 best restaurants in the world where the ranking continues to grow.

Besides the Mirazur, Mauro Colagreco is also the chef of a chic bistro in Paris, the Grandcoeur, and he has joined forces with the Barrière group in two of their hotels, Les Neiges in Courchevel and Le Majestic in Cannes.

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