The World's 50 Best Restaurants

Mirazur draws tourists to Menton

Chef Mauro Colagreco and his wife Julia at the award ceremony here.
Chef Mauro Colagreco and his wife Julia at the award ceremony here.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

It is a starry year for Italian-Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur, the newly minted No. 1 on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list.

This accolade, which includes the honour of being lauded Best Restaurant in Europe on the list, comes after the restaurant in Menton, France, received its third Michelin star early this year - a first for a non-French chef in France.

It is also the first time a French restaurant takes the top spot in the 18-year history of The World's 50 Best Restaurants, which held its award ceremony last Tuesday at Marina Bay Sands.

Mirazur, which opened in 2006, debuted on the list at No. 35 in 2009.

In his acceptance speech at the ceremony here, Colagreco, 42, called 2019 "a crazy year" for him.

At the post-awards press conference, the visibly overwhelmed chef was lost for words.

"I blacked out for 10 seconds," he said. "I own the sky. To achieve this award is something so special for us. Mirazur is our family. I don't have words to express how happy I feel."

Born in Argentina, Colagreco moved to France in 2001 and worked with acclaimed French chefs such as the late Bernard Loiseau, as well as Alain Passard and Alain Ducasse.

Besides Mirazur, he has helmed restaurants such as Grand Coeur in Paris, Carne in Argentina, Azur in Beijing and Grill 58 in Macau.

The success of Mirazur has contributed greatly to the tourism in Menton, a sleepy town on the French Riviera.

Colagreco said: "There has been a huge impact. It is huge how our local economy - the farmers and fishermen - depends on Mirazur. We have fantastic producers."

The father of two is quite the producer as well, calling himself a "little gardener". He has just bought 3ha of land, in addition to the current 2ha he owns.

He said: "The next step is to make our garden bigger, maybe even bigger than the restaurant."

Taking stock of his journey so far, he added: "I started 13 years ago, with just three of us serving two people in the dining room. Now we have (a team of) 50 people. When you believe in your dream, you can achieve it."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 30, 2019, with the headline 'Mirazur draws tourists to Menton'. Subscribe