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Food and Drink

Meet Mauro Colagreco – the best chef in the world

Words by Eduan R Maggo

The Argentine is Chef Patron at Mirazur, in Menton near Monaco, which has three Michelin stars and was voted best in the world in 2019.

As he takes up a new post in Dubai, Colagreco spoke to EDGAR about his grandmother’s cooking, the best dishes he’s ever eaten and how he handles pressure at work.


What’s your earliest food memory?

My paternal grandparents lived in the countryside in Argentina, so we visited them during holidays. There was always a party in my grandmother’s house and I remember her cooking. My grandfather was Italian and she was Basque, so she learned how to cook pasta to keep my grandfather happy. She made a delicious ravioli with spinach, Parmesan and veal brain.

The veranda at Mirazur.


The veranda at Mirazur in the south of France

What did your father do?

He was a gardener and grew his own tomatoes. They were the first flavours I remember. We would pick tomatoes from the plant, still warm from the sun, and eat them without washing them. My grandmother Amalia made the ravioli sauce from these tomatoes.

How did you enter the industry?

I decided I wanted to cook when I was 20 years old, which is considered a late start in the industry.


Pigeon at Mirazur restaurant.


Pigeon with wild strawberries at Mirazur

Did you pursue other career ideas first?

I tried to follow in my dad’s footsteps as an accountant, but as with every job you must find passion in what you do and this wasn’t the case here. I also tried to pursue a literary career, but that wasn’t for me either. Sometimes a crisis can be dangerous but sometimes it’s a blessing and leads to a great opportunity.

What changed your mind?

It was my sister who reminded me of the pleasure and happiness I used to feel as a child, cooking with my grandmother. That memory turned out to be a real journey back to rediscovering myself and my true passion. Cooking is what I am, I could not be anything else.

Mirazur dining room.


Mirazur dining room

How do you handle pressure in the kitchen?

There is always pressure in any job where someone is searching for perfection. I use this as a way to improve, to question myself and to move forward. I’m also lucky to work with my wife, and have my friends and family close by — they support me every day. A garden and a beautiful view of the sea also soothes me and gives me energy. Everything is a question of balance. I am lucky to say I’ve found my balance. 

Do you like to cook at home?

I enjoy cooking with my family at home. I like to pick fresh vegetables from my garden and prepare them in a simple way with an excellent extra virgin olive oil, and a slice of good bread to go with it.


Mauro Colagreco chef.


Colagreco dabbled in literature before becoming a chef

What have been some of your most memorable restaurant experiences?

The dessert I ate at Max and Raf Alajmo’s Le Calandre (Italy) touched me deeply. The ravioli burro and salvia at La Vecchia Ostaia (Italy) brought back beautiful childhood memories of my grandma’s cooking. Finally, the ragout at David Kinch’s Manresa (USA); when it came to the table the aromas reminded me of my mother making her Sunday puchero (a type of Spanish stew).

Orange and almond dessert at Mirazur.


Orange and almond dessert at Mirazur

What new trends are you seeing in restaurants?

Waste and sustainability are hotly debated at the moment. However, I see it as much more than a trend. At Mirazur we are very conscious about waste, we use vegetables that are in season and respect the ingredients. The approach is not always easy, but it has certainly led to some new discoveries in the kitchen.

Mauro Colagreco oversees the restaurants at One & Only Royal Mirage in Dubai.

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