In Monaco, a rain of chefs brought together by the most starred resort in the world
It is 8 p.m. in Monaco and the atmosphere is in full swing at the American Bar of the Hôtel de Paris, a mythical place designated by Winston Churchill and Lady Gaga, plus all the figures and personalities that the Principality has to offer. However, on this Saturday, November 26, you have to be right next door, in the most unexpected place on the Rock: the Hauser & Wirth gallery. Installed in the basement of the One Montecarlo luxury complex, this space with its truly impressive size, a sort of white box on the brutalist ceiling pierced with a skylightsees crowding, under the portraits ofIsabelle Huppert by photographer Roni Horn, well 150 guests. Long dresses, pocket squares, tuxedos rub shoulders here with chef’s hats and aprons, for this second edition of the Festival des Etoilés de Monte-Carlo. Nothing to do with dancing, it’s a exceptional dinner bringing together the chefs of the different establishments of the Société des Bains de Mer : Alain Ducasse (3 stars at the Louis XV and just returned from Bangkok) accompanied by his chef Emmanuel Pilon; Yannick Alleno (1 star at the Pavyllon of the Hôtel Hermitage) and his head sommelier Franck Damatte; Marcel Ravin (2 stars at the Blue Bay) and his head sommelier Gérard Veyrat; and Norman-born Dominique Lory, executive chef of all the kitchens at the Hôtel Hermitage. Among the guests, we also meet Gennaro Ioro, head of one of the most impressive wine cellars in Europe… and Prince Albert, who chairs this dinner.
Invisible from the outside, the Salle des Arts welcomes Monegasque gastronomy
Betting on gastronomy is one of the choices that the Société des Bains de Mers has made for decades, notably trusting a young French chef, who will invent, here, the concept of naturalness, forging a gastronomy reduced in meat, giving pride of place to vegetables and local products. “It was thirty-six years ago, laughs Jean-Luc Biamonti, the president of the SBM, before insisting: we talk a lot about gastronomy, but here, we prefer the idea of culinary art. Hence the choice of this room for this second edition. “The place is impressive. Hidden in the depths of the Rock, adjoining the immaculate space of the art gallery, adorned with moldings, columns and gilding evoking the golden age of this beginning of the 20th century when everything in the world counts large fortunes and crowned heads have come to winter in Monte Carlo, this vast room is an identical reproduction of the Salle des Arts at the Sporting d’Hiver, the Art Deco cathedral having given way to the residential buildings of One Montecarlo. The tables, from two to ten guests, are decorated with flowers and lit by (fake) candles. Each participant – and there are all types: young and old, families, couples… – paid €800 to take part in this unique event in the world of gastronomy.
The feasts can begin after the arrival of the Prince, at 8.30 p.m., itself swept away by a cocktail in the adjacent gallery signed by the best worker in France Philippe Joannès, where the burratta and beetroot zephyr crackers meet a Mediterranean bonito onigiri with truffle and sweet and sour squash gyozas.
Gamberoni from San Remo, Mediterranean fishing and Creole accents.
For dinner, the chefs divide up the dishes. Alain Ducasse, accompanied by Emmanuel Pilon, signs the starter: gamberoni from San Remo (Italy is right next door) just marinated, myrtle and coral heads, frozen squash kefir. It is intensely fresh, iodized but not too much, the frozen kefir comes to invigorate the just fleshy texture of the seafood, a first experience served with a glass of Chablis. Follows the Mediterranean fishing of Marcel Ravin, a chef of Martinican origin who enjoys fusions of new flavors, the fish having been confit in Indian wood, accompanied by a blaff of coconut water and a giraumonade – an accompaniment of Creole origin – treated here with floral accents.
A ladle of beef puff pastry – and saucer plates.
If the plates are excellent, the service is also a real spectacle, since everything is cooked live, on stage, then distributed to each table by a brigade of about ten waiters and waitresses, under the leadership of a chef. hotel eared as it should. Enough to allow the Wagyu beef leaf by leaf with Paris mushrooms, capers and mushroom juice to reach an ideal temperature. The meat is so tender that it could be eaten with a spoon, and its aromas revived by a glass of Châteauneuf du Pape vintage 2015. No problem for those who would dare to want to sauce their plate: even the bread, prepared by the MOF Thomas Subrin, was designed by the chefs, whether it is the laminated one with Timut pepper (signed Marcel Ravin) and the one, on a sourdough stone millstone, which accompanies Yannick Alléno’s wagyu, whose the mantra-“the sauce is the verb of the plate” removes all inhibitions.
Dominique Lory, a formidable cook of Norman origin, and now responsible for all the kitchens (restaurants, breakfasts, room service, banquets, etc.) at the Hôtel Hermitage designed the dessert. This ingredient from the markets of Nice and Ventimiglia has the quinces of the producer Gisèle Taxil, treated naturally and in granita, accompanied by candied citron and a sheep’s cheese sorbet, proposed with an astonishing sparkling sake Shichiken which reveals all the depth of this very reasonably sweet last dish, the preparation of which he shared on his Instagram account.