Even chefs who have scaled the global gastronomic heights had to start somewhere. 50 Best asks Mauro Colagreco, the man behind The World’s Best Restaurant 2019, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, how he found his place in the cooking world
As part of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship 2020, the lucky recipient wins the opportunity to complete a six-week stage at Mirazur in France, The Test Kitchen in South Africa and Leo in Colombia. If you are ready to begin your international cooking education, then complete the application and register your interest today.
One of the finest examples of a truly international chef, Argentinian Mauro Colagreco has travelled the world honing his craft. After studying at a gastronomy school in Buenos Aires, he began a career which has taken him through Europe to the Far East, before finding a base for his style of cuisine in Menton, on the south coast of France. He shares some quick-fire advice for aspiring and ambitious cooks.
What were the key things that you learnt before starting your own restaurant?
"Each teacher and every experience left me with something. In 2001, I came to France to work with Bernard Loiseau before moving to Paris to spend time with Alain Passard, Guy Martin and Alain Ducasse. With Loiseau it was how to handle fire and prepare meat; with Passard it was his incredible passion for vegetables; with Martin I learnt how to train my creativity; and with Ducasse it was the sense of excellence and perfection of each ingredient. Each chef introduced me to the great history of French gastronomy and the unfolding and refinement of culinary techniques that have taken the profession to the highest level of development."
What advice would you give a chef starting out in their career?
"Explore the land, let yourself be amazed by the ingredients and the people around you as much as possible. The key thing is to make sure that you never lose the feeling of creative freedom and expression."
What characteristics do you look for in a stagiaire?
"Passion and a genuine love for the job. In this sense it is necessary to be honest with oneself in order to be able to express it later in everyday life."
What will the winner of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship be doing when they come to work in your kitchen?
"He or she will have the opportunity to work in a kitchen with a diverse team, in a wonderful location that offers magnificent ingredients that can only be found here. They will have the chance to experience direct contact with the land, and the permaculture techniques we use in our gardens."
The deadline for 50 Best BBVA Scholarship 2020 applications is 20th December.
Now see behind the scenes what it’s like to work in The World’s Best Restaurant 2019:
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