Festival of the Stars: Pop Cuisine’s Davide Oldani joins Dominique Lory at Le Grill

With the Festival of the Stars grand finale looming, we take you back to Le Grill for the final “Four Hands” event, where one of Italy’s best chefs Davide Oldani joined Hôtel de Paris Executive Chef Dominique Lory for a never-before-seen fusion of Riviera flavours and mouth-watering cucina pop.

Amidst an incredible second edition of Festival of the Stars Monte-Carlo, it was Le Grill’s turn to shine at the end of October.

On the eighth floor of the Hôtel de Paris, newly appointed Executive Chef Dominique Lory was joined by two Michelin star Italian chef Davide Oldani for an seven-course fusion of fresh Riviera flavours and exciting Pop Cuisine (cucina pop).

Oldani’s philosophy of high quality and accessibility at his restaurant D’O in Cornaredo, near Milan, has positioned him amongst the greatest chefs of contemporary Italian cuisine.

Having worked under Alain Ducasse at Louis XV, Oldani knows Monaco – and Dominique Lory – very well. After 11 years as the executive chef of the three-starred Louis XV, Lory recently took over from Franck Cerutti and now oversees the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo in its entirety.

Davide Oldani, a former soccer player, also sharpened his skills right here at Le Grill, as well as working under the likes of Gualtiero Marchesi, Albert Roux, and Pierre Hermé in London.

As part of his mission to popularise gastronomy, Oldani also designs tables, chairs, plates, tableware, and glassware – inspired by the Pop Cuisine philosophy of simple, functional and elegant.

“Pop cuisine was born 19 years ago when we opened our restaurant D’O in my home town of Cornaredo,” Chef Oldani tells us after a spectacular lunch. “I was 36 and I had travelled a lot working with many great chefs. I learned the methods, the products, the rules that we have in the kitchen. But I didn’t want to be the Hôtel de Paris. D’O was a small trattoria with an 11.50€ menu that included a glass of good wine, bottled water, and coffee. It became so popular that we had to stop taking reservations on the phone. It was completely crazy.”

Saffron spaghetti and caviar by Davide Oldani, photo by Monaco Life

Oldani’s passion to deliver quality cuisine for all became a huge success and, one year after opening, the world’s most authoritative food guides counted him amongst the greatest chefs of contemporary Italian cuisine.

“I was doing an interview with an Italian journalist and I was explaining what I was doing, and he said to me, ‘So, you’re making a popular kitchen’?” I didn’t really like the word ‘popular’, but I took on the idea and changed it to pop – Cucina Pop, or Pop Cuisine in English.”

In 2013, Davide Oldani was invited to Harvard Business School to share his concept and experience as an entrepreneur. His case study was published in the Harvard Business School Review.

Oldani says his recipe for success is democracy and sustainability.

“Respect people, above all, and respect the seasons. Every chef in our kitchen shares their ideas: human relationships and sustainability are the seeds.”

Dominique Lory’s sea bream with granita, carrot and ginger, photo by Monaco Life

In addition to its two Michelin stars, D’O has also been awarded a Green Michelin star for its focus on local ingredients and simple preparation.

We saw this in the first dish of the festival menu at Le Grill – a simple spaghetti salad (pictured earlier in the article), made with saffron and topped with Kristal Caviar. It paired beautifully with a crisp 2018 Pouilly-Fuissé La Croix from Domaine R. Denogent.

Chef Lory says it was a “no-brainer” to pick Davide Oldani to join him for the Festival of the Stars Monte-Carlo. “The discussions were very interesting. He made dishes of his DNA, and we made dishes from the DNA of Le Grill.”

Act II in this seven-act gastronomic show was sea bream crudo topped with a beautifully light granita and finished with a cold carrot and ginger extraction (see image above). It prepped the palate for Davide’s scallop, which was served theatrically alongside a tamarind consommé in a martini glass, to be dipped in a drop of apple and celery puree.

Then came another grand show – a giant Alba white truffle, the rarest and most coveted of all truffles, presented by the chefs at the table, before being shaved lavishly all over our morel mushroom risotto. As if the meal couldn’t get extravagant enough, the dish was served with a spectacular Château Mazeyres Pomerol.

Le Grill’s signature carré d’agneau came next. The lamb from Provence was cooked before our eyes on the open grill, carved and served tableside with the restaurant’s famous potato ‘puffs’ and grilled vegetables.

To finish, we had D’O’s refreshing green tea and Menton lemon granita, but it was the famous Alain Ducasse chocolate soufflé that stole the show.

The famous Alain Ducasse chocolate soufflé, photo by Monaco Life

It was then that the roof above us parted and the bright blue autumn sky shone down into the dining room, a spectacular finale to another “only in Monaco” experience.

While the Lory-Oldani pairing marked the end of the “Four Hands” element of the Festival of the Stars, there is one more chance to see Monaco’s starred chefs together in action. On Saturday 26th November, SBM will host the Festival of the Stars Closing Gala at One Monte-Carlo, bringing together Alain Ducasse, Marcel Ravin, Yannick Alleno and Dominique Lory. Among the signature dishes will be Chef Alain Ducasse’s marinated San Remo gamberoni and Chef Yannick Alléno’s incredible Wagyu beef millefeuille.

Reservations can be made by calling +37798063636.


Click on the gallery below to see more images from the Lory-Oldani Festival of the Stars Monte-Carlo pairing. All photos by Monaco Life…




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Photo above of Davide Oldani (left) and Dominique Lory by Monaco Life



COP27: implementing the Paris Agreement

Monaco’s Minister of State Pierre Dartout has represented the Principality at COP27 in Egypt.

He was joined by Minister for Equipment, the Environment and Town Planning Céline Caron-Dagioni at the opening conference on Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th November for the Summit of the Heads of State.

Dartout participated in two high-level round tables: ‘Innovative finance for climate and development’ and ‘Climate change and the sustainability of vulnerable communities’, during which certain actions by the Principality were highlighted. The financing of climate action in developing countries is at the heart of discussions related to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Monaco’s Minister of State spoke about the Prince’s Government’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in accordance with the objectives set by HSH Prince Albert II.

Several bilateral meetings were also organised on the sidelines of the summit, in particular with the Head of the Andorran Government, Xavier Espot Zamora.

The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) kicked off on Sunday 6th November in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. After a decade of intense negotiations culminating in Glasgow (COP 26) with the adoption of the latest rules for the application of the Paris Agreement, the debates are now entering the era of implementation.


Photo source: Government Communication Department



Seabed mining, alert systems and carbon credits: COP27 in full swing

The COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, has attracted world leaders, environmentalists and scientists, all trying to come up with workable solutions to ease the planet’s climate and ecological woes. Here are some highlights so far.

Hot topics at the COP27 conference on Tuesday 8th November ranged from climate action and global warning systems to gender equality and seabed mining, just to name a few.

One of the bigger surprises came from Australian iron ore magnate Andrew Forrest, Executive Chairman of Fortescue Metals. Speaking at a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Ocean Pavilion, he said that he is in favour of pausing seabed mining operations.

Andrew Forest and his wife Nicola fund the Minderoo Foundation with the dividends they get from Fortescue. He said the foundation will back a pause until there’s sufficient evidence that damage to ocean environments can be prevented.

The shift in energy sources and transition to zero-emission targets has led to increasing demand for the metals needed to build batteries and increasing interest by investors, mining companies and some coastal states in seabed mining.

The imminent commencement of seabed mining would involve vacuuming up potato-sized rocks rich in battery metals that blanket vast swathes of the sea floor at depths of four to six kilometres, and are especially abundant in the north Pacific Ocean.

Mining the seabed in areas outside national jurisdiction cannot begin until the International Seabed Authority, a UN body, decides on regulations governing the industry.

“If regulators can’t apply exactly the same whole-of-ecosystem studies, including flora, fauna, terrain and unintended consequence and the same or higher standards, as we do on land, then the seabed shouldn’t be mined,” Forrest said, adding that more efficient mining methods and recycling of existing metals should be explored before seabed mining goes ahead.

Forrest, plans to turn Fortescue into the world’s biggest green energy group and has previously called on rivals to speed up their energy transition and use green hydrogen.

Early weather warning plan

Another highlight of COP27 so far is an announcement by the United Nations of a €3 billion action plan to create a global early warning weather network predicting natural disasters within the next five years.

“Vulnerable communities in areas sensitive to global warming are taken aback by cascading climatic disasters, without any means of preventive warning,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. “People in Africa, South Asia, Central and South America, and people in small island states are 15 times more likely to die in a climate catastrophe,” he added.

Gender equality

Investors including the European Investment Bank and Legal and General Investment Management have called for urgent action to include more women in climate action and finance decisions. The investors stated there had been “far too little progress”, especially considering climate change affects women disproportionately. They propose women be better represented in climate finance decision-making and policy framework assessments to even the playing field.

Corporate committments

Additionally, Canadian think tank Corporate Knights and the Global 100 Council have put together a joint plan to close the gap between commitment and action on individual countries’ emission reductions. The initiative is supported by over 50 global companies whose combined revenues top $900 billion and are from the worlds of finance, tech, mining and healthcare. All G7 countries, except Japan, have signed on.

Finally, an assessment of more than 400 banks, asset managers and insurers by the World Benchmarking Alliance has shown a lack of transparency and support in relation to sustainability challenges. Less than 40% of financial institutions have revealed long-tern net-zero goals and only 20% have disclosed their impact on communities and the environment.



Photo source: U.S. State Department – OES




Tempt the taste buds at Monte-Carlo Gastronomy

With over 100 international exhibitors, visitors to the upcoming Monte-Carlo Gastronomy event at the Chapiteau in Fontvieille will be treated to a huge variety of products and tasty treats from all around Europe.  

Get ready for four days of exceptional culinary surprises at the 25th edition of the Monte-Carlo Gastronomy show, which runs from 25th to 28th November at the Big Top in Fontvieille.  

Gourmet sellers from France, Italy and the rest of Europe will be on hand to tempt guests with their delicious beverages, including wines, champagnes, cognac, Armagnac and liqueurs as well as foodie delights such as salmon, foie gras, seafood, truffles, caviar, chocolates, sweeties, cheeses, cured meats, organic products and jams.  

To add to the fun, the event returns with the third edition of the Maestro Chef Challenge as six chefs go head-to-head, battling it out to create an original recipe in under an hour.   

The chefs will be judged on presentation, creativity, and of course, taste, but they will also be challenged to eliminate food wastage. The selected finalists will then have 90 minutes to whip up something special using a limited list of ingredients. 

The event will be filmed and broadcast on the Monte-Carlo Gastronomy social media accounts. The grand prize will be €2,000 for the winner.  

The event is being organised by Caroli Com and is supported by numerous associations such as Monaco Goût et Saveurs, the Maîtres d’Hôtel Italiens et Français association, the Monegasque Association of Sommeliers, Slow Food Riviera Côte d’Azur Association and the Monegasque Hotel Industry association. 

For more information and to buy tickets: montecarlogastronomie.com.  



Photo source: Michael Tri-Wijaya for Unsplash

Monaco sends ambassadors to the Vatican and Austria

Two new Monegasque ambassadors have been dispatched to work their diplomatic skills in Austria and the Vatican City.   

 On 22nd October, Pope Francis welcomed Philippe Orengo as the new representative for Monaco in the Holy See.   

A ceremony where the Pope accepted Orengo’s credentials took place at the Apostolic Palace and was followed by a private audience with the Pontiff in his library and another with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State, at his own residence.  

The Pope expressed his wishes to continue good relations with the Principality, notably working together over time in the service of humanity and humanitarian efforts.  

On 3rd November, Lorenzo Ravano presented his letters of credence to the Federal President of the Republic of Austria, Alexander van der Bellen. He was accompanied by Jean Laurent Imbert, the First Secretary.  

The official swearing in took place at the Hofburg Imperial Palace, the official residence of the Austrian president in Vienna. It was followed by talks where the new ambassador congratulated the president on his recent re-election and spoke of how he hoped to strengthen ties in the diplomatic, cultural and economic realms. The two men also reaffirmed their views on climate actions and President van der Bellen praised Prince Albert II on his work on energy transition within the Principality.  



Photo source: Vatican Media

France targets air quality with 10 billion euro incentive

French President Emmanuel Macron has called on the country’s worst polluting sites to drastically reduce emissions while the long-time mayor of Nice has demanded the closure of the city’s closest toll booth in an effort to improve air quality for 80,000 people.  

Against the backdrop of the ongoing COP27 climate conference, Macron summoned the heads of 50 of France’s worst polluting sites to the Palais de l’Elysée on Tuesday 8th November to discuss their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

10 billion euros to target France’s worst polluters

France is asking the sites, which together produce 10% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce their emissions by half over the next 10 years.  The government has already promised five billion euros in financial support to help accelerate the “decarbonisation process”, but Macron’s used the meeting to double this offer if the companies in turn double down on their own efforts.  

Six of those summoned to the Elysée are to be found in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region: the Vicat cement plant in Peille, the La Malle Lafarge cement plant in Bouc-Bel-Air, the Aubette chemical plant in Berre l’Etang, the Lavéra Air Liquide Hydrogène and Naphtachimie refinery sites in Martigues, and the Arcelor Mittal production site in Fos-sur-Mer. The Marseille-Fos basin, where a high proportion of these sites are located, is the second most polluting zone in France; it produces an estimated 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year.  

Air pollution in Nice threatens 80,000 residents

Meanwhile, the longtime mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi has called for the closure of Nice’s Saint Isidore péage, citing poor air quality conditions for the nearby population.  

Estrosi recently engaged AtmoSud, the region’s air quality observatory, to conduct a study into the effects of the toll booth on localised air quality and thus public health. Around 80,000 people are understood to be affected by the péage, which is stationed to the northwest of the city and is a frequent source of contention due to regular traffic jams and high-speed accidents in its vicinity.  

The study suggested that if the toll booth was to be removed – or transformed in a barrier-free site like many others in France soon will be – 34 tonnes of CO2 could be “saved” each day. Annually, that figure could be as high as 12,400 tonnes. Nitrogen oxide pollution could also be reduced by 112kg per day or 41 tonnes per year.  

“We cannot wait to the end of the contract between the state and the private manager [of the péage] in 10 years,” said Estrosi of the current agreement between Vinci Autoroutes and the French state, a contract that will see its term in February 2032, “especially when we now know the extent of risks posed by air pollution to the health of our residents.” 



Photo source: Maxim Tolchinskiy for Unsplash