Mauro Colagreco: «We're back, aware of the strength of our work, and we continue to dream»

Another message of hope at Identità Milano 2021, where the three-starred chef from Mirazur in Mentone, France, told us about the need for a new balance

01-10-2021
Reassessing work-life balance, investing in traini

Reassessing work-life balance, investing in training, reconnecting with nature. Mauro Colagreco tells his post-crisis journey in the second day of Identità Milano 2021

Reconnecting with the cycle of nature to get rid of the pandemic-fear. Be once again aware that only through hard work we will get out of the dramatic economic situation we're experiencing, but always with a heart full of hope and liveliness. Mauro Colagreco, three-star Michelin chef at Mirazur in Mentone, in a touching talk in the Auditorium is convinced that: «we will make it».

He opened up with emotion, in a chat with journalist Giovanna Abrami and, without hiding himself, he talked of the dark moments of the pandemic. «It was a cold shower, like pulling the breaks on the motorway – Colagreco explains -. Three Michelin stars, a very popular restaurant, Best chef of France in 2019. And then suddenly everything stops. Anxiety and fear were the first reactions. Over time, we understood the road to take».

And it was a road that has reconnecting with nature's cycles and with the slow movement of the moon as its key concept. Like with all the great, he transformed darkness into light, difficulties into opportunities.

Today at Mirazur there are 4 menus that investigate the different parts of the plant based on their vitality connected to the force of the moon. It may sound esoteric, but in fact it's pure connection with the Earth. «Because – as Colagreco says with a smile – Earth is our casserole and that's where everything begins».

The 3-starred chef explained the 4 menus that analyse the flavours and textures of the different parts of the plant, based on their vitality, connected with the force of the moon

The 3-starred chef explained the 4 menus that analyse the flavours and textures of the different parts of the plant, based on their vitality, connected with the force of the moon

«Thanks to the pandemic I realised I had to find a new balance – Colagreco continues -. Putting back in the centre the meaning of our work was a priority. I sometimes talk with young cooks and they don't know anything of the ingredients they want to handle. They don't know the life cycle of an onion, of a potato, of a carrot, they don't know that their flavour becomes more or less intense depending on the climate or the time of the year. It is crucial that young people understand that knowledge is the first step to be cooks».

Young people are another theme Colagreco holds dear. «Telling young people today that the future is simple, would be a lie – the chef from Mirazur continues -. But just like our grandparents had the strength to rebuild Europe after World War II, we must continue to dream. We must follow their example and get working».

Chef Mauro Colagreco with Paolo Marchi and Giovanna Abrami, awarded with the iconic plaque from Identità Milano 2021

Chef Mauro Colagreco with Paolo Marchi and Giovanna Abrami, awarded with the iconic plaque from Identità Milano 2021

And rebuilding for Colagreco is not something you do fast. «Another key concept of this new beginning is sustainability, even in terms of life – the chef points out –. For instance, I decided to reduce the rhythm and the hours of service. For an entrepreneur closing for multiple days with 65 professionals in a place seating 45 people is a difficult choice to make. You lose money. But we've understood that there's something bigger: finding a new awareness in the meaning of our work. You need to think things through, and you need the right balance between enterprise and life, between work and free time, between investment and passion».

On the stage of Identità Milano 2021 the chef also talked about training. «Thinking about work, and having a new approach, also means paying more and more attention to our collaborators – Colagreco ends -. Making them feel at ease and letting them understand that one of our priorities is to allow them to grow, both as individuals and within the group.»

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso