Mirazur’s Mauro Colagreco

For Mauro Colagreco, it’s an honor for guests to step into his world at Mirazur

Tucked into the town of Menton in the South of France, Mirazur’s distance from Italy can be measured in meters rather than kilometers. A multitude of cultures and influences, combined with the incredible talent of Chef Mauro Colagreco, has resulted in its placement on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 list at #1. The restaurant’s surrounding gardens produce many of the ingredients found on the menu, and the dining room and sweeping terrace provide stunning views of the Mediterranean. Chef Colagreco places priority on quality at every level, and extends to his team the incredible lessons he learned from some of the world’s most iconic chefs. Ann Hill, Aspire Lifestyles Director of Dining, had the great opportunity to ask a few questions and learn more.

Aspire Lifestyles: Your restaurant is in France but on the Italian border and you are Argentinian. How does each cuisine type influence your cooking?

Chef Mauro Colagreco: My origins and training play a huge part in my style of cooking, both my love of Italian ingredients (fortunately we’re right on the border of France and Italy at Mirazur) and my Argentinian roots. It’s always going to have an impact; it’s in my blood. I use local products as inspiration, paired with different techniques from my heritage, and what I have learnt in France and on my world travels.

AL: You worked for some of the most iconic French chefs of the past few decades. What were some of the most important things you learned from each?

MC: Bernard Loiseau opened the doors of haute cuisine for me; I understood for the first time how to make sauces and stocks using only reductions and concentration of flavours. Ducasse and Passard made a mark on my life, they respectively taught me the importance of attention to detail and how to nourish the instinct of creativity.

AL: What is the most important value in cooking that you teach and stress to your kitchen team?

MC: For values, I am very conscious about waste, about using all of the vegetables that are in season and respecting the ingredients. The approach is not always an easy one, but has certainly lead to some new discoveries in the kitchen.

At the moment at Mirazur guests just get the restaurant, but we have gardens and eventually we want to take our customers through those gardens so they can really discover the true Mirazur. It’s not just what you find on the plate but all the work behind it, the products and the research. We have all this work that we’ve been doing for years and now we really need to value it. It’s going to be amazing to feel proud of all our work around biodiversity, nature and the small producers, which is so important to what we do but isn’t always appreciated. We have been granted another hectare of land, further up the hill from the restaurant, which will be used to grow more of the produce we use, including the Menton citrus fruits as well as myriad herbs and vegetables.

AL: What has been your most memorable food destination? Why?

MC: Actually I don’t have a favourite destination, every place leaves me with something. I would say I love to go back home the most because I know my mother is cooking her memorable Argentinian stew.

AL: What has been the most interesting ingredient, technique or dish that you have experienced while traveling that has inspired your cooking?

MC: Once I was in the middle of Italy up in the mountains and I discovered the sweet flavour of lavender flowers combined with cheese. I decided to pair lavender flowers with goat’s cheese for an event I took part in and it was just beautiful!

AL: Which musician or band would you like to cook for in a casual, private setting to chat, eat and maybe hear some of their music?

MC: I had the honor to serve Bono some months go. I would love to cook for U2 in a more casual setting.

AL: Do non-chef family and friends ever invite you to their home for dinner and cook for YOU?

MC: Of course. And it is always delicious! So keep inviting me please, haha!

AL: People come to your restaurant for special occasions that become life moments. For you, it’s your day to day job description. What constitues a really great day at work for you and can you tell us about any that stand out?

MC: Every day, even if it is my daily routine, is a different day. Every day we welcome new guests, new experiences to offer, new people to meet and let step into our world, isn’t that an incredible gift and honor?

AL: How has your placement on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list changed your lives?

MC: This amazing acknowledgement was unexpected, it is flattering and a responsibility too – we still are overwhelmed by joy, I can’t hide it. It has opened new doors for us, and allowed us to share Mirazur on a global platform with a wider audience.