When Alain Ducasse called up Mirazur’s Mauro Colagreco after the site was handed its second Michelin star in 2010, the legendary French chef told him: “Congratulations – now it’s over. It’s time to get to work”.
Colagreco did just that – in the 2019 guide he was awarded his third star. Thankfully, for those unable to head to southern France, in the same year, he wrote a book.
Colagreco’s 372-page love letter to the region is breathtaking, incorporating not just the recipes that saw him awarded the highest accolades in the industry, but biographies of his suppliers, breakdowns of favoured ingredients and detailed, poetic descriptions of the Côte d’Azur.
The book showcases 12 years of work and captures the synergy the chef has developed with his surroundings. An Argentinan chef with Italian heritage and French training, Michelin described his food as “a unique and daily ode to aromatic plants, flowers, vegetables from his garden and citrus fruits”. The book is no different, poring over the ingredients from the distinctive terroir, which straddles France’s Italian coast at the foot of the Alps.
Dishes are diverse and ornate, but are tampered with as little as possible. On the extreme end is his recipe for cherries (“Wash and dry the cherries, then place them on crushed ice”). Others, like squid, artichoke and pimpernel, are underpinned by detailed processes but look seamless, clean and delicate on the plate. All seem to carry the same principle – one without ego that honours the incredible local produce.
The book is split into two halves – the first full of Eduardo Torres’ gorgeous pictures of the restaurant’s dishes and the second containing the recipes, allowing you to explore the full visual gamut of Colagreco’s work before taking on board the complexities behind each plate.
The book is a love story, showing Colagreco’s deep affinity with all the Côte D’Azur has to provide him with on his path to culinary prestige. It is a passion he has done well to impart on the page, creating a rapturously joyful exploration of a chef, his kitchen and his home.
Mirazur, by Mauro Colagreco (Catapulta £51)