Chef Mauro Colagreco: “Five dishes that changed my life.”
Chef Mauro Colagreco is in charge of Mirazur, recently named the world’s best restaurant.
As he expands his empire to Dubai (at The One & Only’s Celebrities restaurant), we asked him to reveal some of the most important dishes he’s ever experienced.
My Grandmother’s spinach and brain ravioli
My grandmother was a fantastic cook, and her ravioli are unforgettable to me. They would be stuffed with spinach, along with a little bit of parmesan cheese. And then, the secret ingredient: brains. And then it would all be served in a really simple, but really fantastic tomato sauce. That is one of the first food memories that I can remember having as a child.
The frog’s legs at La Côte d'Or's
I had the privilege of working with one of the great French masters of cooking, Bernard Daniel Jacques Loiseau. I worked in his three Michelin-starred La Côte d'Or's before he killed himself over rumours that his restaurant would lose a star. This dish really was fantastic, featuring just frog’s legs, served with a bright green parsley sauce and garlic puree.
I had already heard about this dish before I left my home in Argentina, and when I left, I knew that I would have to go to France to taste it. It really changed my expectations of what a finished dish could be, especially the sauce. Most people just served a sauce on the side, but this dish made the sauce the star.
Alain Passard’s baked beetroot with balsamic vinegar
Passard is another one of the world’s greatest chefs, and almost 20 years ago he decided to stop cooking with meat. He replaced the menu at his three-Michelin star restaurant L’Arpège with only vegetables, and one dish – the salt-baked beetroot which is served with balsamic vinegar from Modena – was crazy. It was so good and so nice, and it really opened up my eyes to how good vegetarian food can be.
Passard really treated the vegetables as a protein, and that is something that has certainly changed my approach – my vision – for food going forward.
Amazonian flowers at Mugaritz
Without a doubt, I had one of the best meals of my life in 2005. Mugaritz is a restaurant in the Basque Country of Spain. Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz makes very interesting food, and this one plate was a mix of plenty of vegetables and herbs but served with these Amazonian flowers which makes your mouth go to sleep. I am not exaggerating, every mouthful of food was an explosion of tastes and flavours.
I actually opened Mirazur a year later, and that food was a huge inspiration for my first menu.
Pidu noodle soup
I was Nanjing, China, and my friend took me to a restaurant that specializes in soups. We had this traditional noodle soup, and it had such texture. You know, in Europe if a dish has more than three textures, many people get overwhelmed. But this soup, it had more than ten textures, from the noodles to the vegetables to dried little shrimps, herbs, spices.
That really started me exploring the use of texture in my food, and something that I describe as the fourth dimension to a lot of my dishes.
Celebrities by Mauro Colagreco is located at The One & Only Royal Mirage. Open 7:30 – 11pm. Tel: +04 399 9999