Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco's restaurant Mirazur in the French Riviera was ranked number one in the World's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2019. Primarily utilising produce from the restaurant's extensive gardens, the transportive dining experience is deeply in tune with the cycles of nature and celebrates its bounty.
The philosophy of Mirazur is very much related to the earth. How is this reflected in the Lunar Menu?
Our location has always inspired my cooking philosophy. In Menton, the restaurant is surrounded by our gardens and set in a landscape between the mountains and sea. Lockdown provided us with a time to reflect and make a deeper connection with the work we do in our gardens and strengthen relationships within our local community. During confinement, we were in awe of how nature continued to flourish, following its own rhythm, despite Covid-19 forcing us to stop all we had been doing. With this in mind, we could not just reopen Mirazur in the same way. We needed to show our guests what we had observed during this time, the brilliance of nature, a more holistic view of our permaculture; and of course, the biodynamics that had played out during this period. We decided to assimilate those biodynamic principles we were already following with the lunar calendar, to state not just what we were eating, but when.
The result is an entirely new experience for guests, deeply connecting nature to the kitchen and ultimately the plate. Guests experience one of four variations depending on their arrival day: Roots Universe Menu, Leaves Universe Menu, Flowers Universe Menu, or Fruits Universe Menu. For example, on leaf days when the energy and flavour are most concentrated in the leaf of the plant, we serve a tasting menu inspired around leaves and salad greens, similarly for fruit days, flower days and root days. Now we are making nature the total driving force behind everything we do at Mirazur. It's ambitious; it requires switching up the restaurant—from the food to décor to staff uniforms every two to four days.
With everything that has happened in the world over the past few months, why are the new Lunar Menu and the philosophy of being connected to land and earth even more important?
During lockdown, I had a lot of time to think about what type of society we want to live in, what we should be eating and consuming. The provenance of food, where it comes from, who ensures its production and our supply has never been more critical. I spent a lot of time in the garden; it became a source of peace at a time of so much anxiety. That led Julia, my wife, and I to rethink our restaurant model, and make the garden the centre of the restaurant, not the other way around.
How important is sustainability?
Sustainability is incredibly important to me. My priority is always seasonal and local, creating a short circuit of suppliers and being responsible by using in-season produce. At Mirazur, we grow lots of our fruit and vegetables in our gardens, shop at local organic markets and have close relationships with local producers and artisanal fisherman.
We have training courses every Wednesday in the restaurant for all the Mirazur teams, and we take the opportunity to deepen our knowledge on this subject of eco-sustainability. We work with groups in our region to save farmer seeds and pledged to eradicate the use of plastic in Mirazur. We have just received the 'Plastic-free' certification and are the first restaurant to do this, and also recognition from the Michelin Guide as a restaurant working on 'sustainable gastronomy.' But beyond these recognitions, we continue to work to improve the management of resources in our restaurant and fight against all forms of waste as well as contribute to the cultivation of biodiversity in our gardens.
Has nature always been interwoven with your cooking philosophy?
Yes, nature has always inspired me and been integral to my cooking approach. We are located on the Italian/French border on the Cote D'Azur and surrounded by the mountains, the sea and my garden. This is what drives and inspires me; our menu is designed as a journey, a sensory experience between the gardens, mountains and the sea through its magnificent ingredients.
What are some things you have in the works for Mirazur's future?
At the moment I am focusing on this new approach—it is an ambitious project—every two to four days we change the restaurant, from the food, staff uniforms, wine and even interior decoration. It's been a challenging time, so the health and welfare of our staff and guests is our top priority for the future.
To visit Mirazur or for more information, please contact your lifestyle manager.