Photos: Hundreds join Prince Albert for official launch of Kate Powers Foundation

The legacy of one of Monaco’s most beloved members of the community will live on in the Kate Powers Foundation, which has been officially launched in the presence of lifetime friend Prince Albert II of Monaco.

It was a packed house at Twiga on Tuesday 28th March as close to 400 members of the Monaco community came together for the official launch of her namesake foundation. It was a clear testament to how much they all loved and respected Kate Powers, including Prince Albert II of Monaco.

“It is wonderful to see so many familiar faces here, so many friends,” said Monaco’s Sovereign. “Your presence is a great testimony to Kate, to what she meant to us, and for what she did in her life. It’s all about giving back and helping others, and helping our planet as well. As she really embodied these values and this vision, I think we owe it to her to continue the work that she started with her family and many of you in this room.”

American-born Kate spent most of her life in the Principality after her mother, Jeanne Kelly, moved to Monaco to be with her friend Princess Grace. The Grimaldi and the Powers children grew up together.

As founder and owner of the popular former Stars n’ Bars family restaurant with her life partner Didier Rubiolo, Kate Powers was passionate about her local community and the environment. She passed away from cancer in August 2021, but her legacy to make the world a better place will live on.

Didier Rubiolo and Annette Anderson, former manager of Stars n’ Bars at the launch of the Kate Powers Foundation, photo credit Ed Wright Images

“Do what you love, love what you do, and make a difference”

During the official launch, President of the Kate Powers Foundation Rhonda Hudson relayed the moment that she and Kate decided to create the foundation in 2021.

“She looked at me and said, ‘Well I guess I could use a little help right now with all my ideas’, and she smiled,” revealed Rhonda. “She then asked me, ‘Why would people want to be a part of my foundation?’ and I repeated to her her most commonly used words: ‘Do what you love, love what you do, and make a difference’. The Kate Powers Foundation was created to serve the community of Monaco. We will continue Kate’s passions and desires by focusing on the environment, education and wellbeing in the Principality.”

Prince Albert with members of the Kate Powers Foundation board, photo credit Ed Wright Images

New water fountains to reduce single use plastic

Rhonda Hudson then announced the first project that the Kate Powers Foundation will undertake: the installation of drinking fountains at different locations throughout Monaco. It will help reduce the consumption of single-use plastic, something that was a key mission of the late Kate Powers. The aim is to place permanent, portable and temporary “Kate’s Fountains” throughout Monaco.

“These filtered drinking fountains will unite the community so we can all make an effort to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics,” said Rhonda. “We are excited to announce our collaboration for this project with the Water Smart Foundation.”

The community can support the Kate Powers Foundation projects by providing funding directly at

Click on the gallery below to see more images from the launch. Photos source: Ed Wright Images…


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Featured photo of HSH Prince Albert, Mike Powers and Didier Rubiolo, credit Ed Wright Images


Monte-Carlo Masters: Stan Wawrinka receives wildcard, Andy Murray misses out

Former Monte-Carlo Masters winners Stan Wawrinka and Fabio Fognini have received wildcards to compete in this year’s edition of the tournament, but British Grand Slam winner Andy Murray misses out. 

The tournament’s new director, David Massey, revealed the recipients of the four wildcards on Tuesday. Wawrinka, who is returning to form after a long injury, won the competition back in 2014 and will have the chance to do so again next month. He is joined by world number 91 Fognini, who won the Monte-Carlo Masters back in 2019.  

Andy Murray misses out

There was also room for upcoming British player Jack Draper, currently ranked 43rd in the world. The 21-year-old won the first set against Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open at the beginning of the year, whilst he also performed impressively at the recent Indian Wells tournament, ultimately won by world number one Carlos Alcaraz. 

One of the players that Draper beat during the tournament in Miami was compatriot Murray. The former Wimbledon winner was one of the favourites to earn a spot at this year’s edition, but ultimately misses out on the competition, which is set to feature all of the world’s top 20 players

Valentin Vacherot to represent Monaco 

The final wildcard was awarded to a Monégasque. Lucas Caterina could yet play at this year’s competition, but must first come through the qualification rounds. Valentin Vacherot, however, will certainly be competing on the clay courts of the Monte-Carlo Country Club (MCCC) in April. The Monégasque number one won both of his singles during Monaco’s recent Davis Cup victory over the Dominican Republic. 

Photo of David Massey by Monaco Life

Speaking at the presentation of the event back in January, Massey expressed high hopes for the Monaco contingent in light of their recent performances in the Davis Cup competition, as well as Hugo Nys’ presence in the Australian Open doubles final. 

Rafael Nadal yet to confirm presence at Monte-Carlo Masters

There are now very few question marks over the participants of the 116th edition of the Monte-Carlo Masters, but one glaring one does still exist. It is widely expected that Nadal will compete, but the Spaniard is yet to confirm himself. The tournament listed him, whilst the Mallorcan player also featured on the tournament’s social media communication earlier this month. 

Nadal, however, is battling injury in time to feature. He is expected to be fit, and on Tuesday took to social media to show that he is returning to fitness. The picture, posted on Instagram, showed Nadal in training at his academy centre in Mallorca, and was accompanied by the caption: “We’re continuing with preparation for the return to competition.”

That return, bar any surprises or setbacks, should take place at the Monte-Carlo Masters, which gets underway on 8th April. 


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Photo by Carine06

Marcel Ravin teaches children about this season’s sustainable seafood

A week after the launch of Mr Goodfish’s spring list of sustainable fish stocks, Monte-Carlo Bay’s Michelin-starred Chef Marcel Ravin led a class on the best of “what the sea can offer us”. 

120 schoolchildren from Monaco had a day out of the classroom this week to take part in the Principality’s “Bottle in the Sea” programme on sustainable seafood. It was an opportunity for the young students to learn more about responsible consumption and fishing, as well as get a close-up experience of a Michelin-starred chef at work.  

After meeting with local fishmonger Anthony Rinaldi to learn about this season’s sustainble catches, the pupils headed off to the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort for an al fresco cooking class with the establishment’s Head Chef Marcel Ravin ahead of its official reopening on Friday 31st March. 

Ravin spoke of his passion for seasonal ingredients, encouraging those gathered to be conscientious in choosing dishes that allow them to “consumer better and more sustainably”. There was also a tasting element to the afternoon, which was well-received by the students.  

Sustainable fish stocks this spring in the Mediterranean 

The event comes on the back of the recent launch of the Spring 2023 List of Sustainable Fish Stocks from the Mr Goodfish campaign. 

Wild-caught species recommended by the quarterly list for the Mediterranean include: brill, sea bream, gilt-head bream, blue whiting, sardines, mullus barbatus, bluefish, northern shortfin squid and deep-water rose shrimp.  




Your guide to sustainable seafood restaurants in Monaco


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Photo source: Monaco Communications Department

Photos: French sushi chef takes the win at inaugural European Sushi Championship

Top sushi masters from all over the continent went knife-to-knife at Monaco’s The Niwaki restaurant for the first ever European Sushi Championship. In the end, it was French chef Michael Pankar who stole the day.  

Sushi making is all about style. Sure, high-quality ingredients and savoir-faire are important, but it takes a skilled chef to create beautiful looking – as well as tasting – pieces. That’s without the added element of time pressure, something all competitors at this week’s European Sushi Championship felt, along with the gaze of an extremely discerning judge. 

Held on Monday 27th March at The Niwaki on Avenue Princesse Grace in Monaco, the inaugural European Sushi Championship attracted sushi masters from 10 European nations: Monaco, Italy, France, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Portugal and Belgium. Each had their knives at the ready for a rather gruelling two-hour competition that had the chefs demonstrate their technical skills along with fast-thinking approaches and creativity on a grand scale.  


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A competition in two parts

The participants had to pass two tests. The first was a 60-minute preparatory test, including having all the fish intended to be used in the second round cut in saku, the traditional blocks familiar to sushi eaters. The second test, also an hour long, was designed to let chefs show off their creative sides.

They were each asked to make 40 to 50 pieces of sushi – including nigiri, maki, uramaki, kazari-maki, kazari-sushi and vegetarian sushi – as well as 15 pieces of sashimi. Each competitor also made two signature dishes separately for judges to sample, including one vegetarian option using Koppert Cress products.  

As if this wasn’t enough to consider, the judges heavily stressed the importance of hygiene and cleanliness, particularly with the handling of raw foods.  

Winner Michael Pankar at work. Photo: Fabbio Galatioto

Though the rules on what to do were quite strict, when it came to how they did it, it was a different story. Organisers instructed chefs to colour outside the lines in terms of creativity, with an eye to presenting original, dazzling-looking fare.  

This tied in with technique; the judging category which earned chefs the most points. To get top marks here, the chefs had to have a light touch, for example, not crushing the rice and making sure their fish was perfectly sliced.


After the last cut was made, it was Michael Pankar of France who won the day. Second place went to Italian Diego Vianello and there was a tie for the bronze, which went to Romania’s Sorin Zaharia and Shandhi Peter de Costa from Poland.

The Niwaki Sushi Chef Wagner Spadacio, photo by Monaco Life


Interview with award-winning sushi Chef Wagner Spadacio at The Niwaki, specialist in “Japanese couture cuisine”.

Monaco Life: Why do you think sushi is so popular in Europe?

Chef Wagner Spadacio: Sushi arrived in Europe no more than 30 years ago. It started as fast food in the beginning, and for the last 15 years we have seen very good restaurants emerge with super high quality sushi. I think that’s why sushi is so popular here, because it touches on all the different ways to eat it, from fast food to high-class, like here at The Niwaki.

You are a Brazilian-born sushi chef. People wouldn’t necessarily relate the two, but there is actually a huge Japanese community in Brazil…

Especially in San Paolo where I come from, where there is the biggest Japanese community in the world. When I was a kid, I was one of only three boys who were not Japanese in my school. So, I grew up next to Japanese people and their culture, and I think that is why I am doing what I am doing today.

Can you tell us about the sushi chefs who are competing today?

We organise the French sushi competition [as well as] one in Bucharest and in Poland. So, the chefs who are here today have already participated in competition for the World Sushi Cup, and we are sure they will be doing a very good job today.

What does it mean to these chefs to win the title of European Sushi Champion?

It is very easy for me to talk about this because I was the first ever French Sushi Champion in 2017. The following year, I was awarded Vice World Sushi Champion in Tokyo. It will change their life, they will pass from a good chef to a chef with an award, and everyone is interested in them. So, it will change the life of the winner as it changed mine.

What are the judges looking for today?

The competion here is very different [to] the one we do in Japan, which is very classic. All of our judges there are over 50-years-old, so they have this very traditional vision of sushi. Here, I instructed the judges not to think this way, but to see things differently and judge them as European chefs. So, they have been encouraged to use fusion and let their creativity flow.

Which is similar to the philosophy you apply here at The Niwaki…

We are not a traditional Japanese restaurant because the other chefs and I are giving our little touches to make something new, which you cannot find anywhere else.

Do you expect this to be the first European Sushi Championship of many in Monaco?

I hope we will do it every year, as you can see today it is a great competition. Perhaps we will arrange to have it at a bigger location as it grows every year.




“Every crisis creates opportunities, and for us it is an opportunity to be very well placed in the Monaco banking sector”

Monaco Life talks to Banque Havilland’s risk expert Gil Huart about the local impact of the biggest US banking crisis since 2008.

Over a matter of days, two of the world’s biggest banks located on opposite sides of the Atlantic collapsed, sending the financial world into a spin. Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a vital source of funding for tech start-ups and venture capital firms, was shut down on 10th March and taken over by the US Government after its clients withdrew billions from their accounts.

Just two days later, Signature Bank became the third-largest US bank failure when it suffered a €10 billion run on its deposits, making it insolvent.

Over in Switzerland, Credit Suisse, a behemoth of European banking with assets stretching across the globe, saw its shares plummet after an annual report uncovered “material weaknesses” related to its financial reporting. Likewise, nervous investors withdrew their deposits en masse and the bank’s competitor, UBS, came to the rescue in a government-backed deal.

It is no wonder then that the biggest US banking failure since the 2008 financial crisis sparked fears over the stability of the banking sector. But as Gil Huart, Banque Havilland’s Group Chief Risk Officer, explains, the two situations are markedly different.

“This is very different because 2008 was more systemic,” says Gil Huart. “That was a subprime issue, mortgages with high leverage sold to many US clients. These loans were then repackaged (securitised) and sold to other financial institutions worldwide with a very good rating from credit rating agencies, as these securities were guaranteed by monoline credit insurers. When US house prices fell, it created a domino effect and led to a worldwide contamination. Now, the crisis is mainly localised in the US because it is due to weak regulation of small banks.”

Loosening of US banking regulation behind collapse

In 2018, former president Donald Trump watered down key parts of the Dodd-Frank Act, which set stricter rules for the banking sector. Small and mid-sized banks — those with assets below $250 billion, like SVB — were exempted from some of the rigorous capital requirements applied to larger institutions, and from the obligation to undergo tests of their ability to withstand financial stress by the Federal Reserve each year.

Previously, only banks with assets below $50 billion had such loose oversight.

Meanwhile, SVB, America’s 16th largest bank, had recognised a US$1.8 billion loss on its US$21 billion available-for-sale (AFS) securities portfolio as of 31st December 2022, and its client base – 44% of which were venture backed technology and healthcare IPOs – panicked. The tech-savvy CEOs used online communication to share their concerns, accelerating the bank run.

“The crisis in crypto currencies and the tech industry as a whole generated doubt in these companies, particularly with big bankruptcies like FTX (Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange),” explains Huart. “Social media started to ask what the first impacts would be, and the soundness of the two main banks in the US who were specialised in dealing with crypto/tech companies, SVB and Signature Bank, were questioned. So, a lot of people started to withdraw their deposits.”

On Tuesday, US lawmakers interrogated officials in charge of regulating the nation’s banks as it attempts to understand why Silicon Valley Bank failed, and what it might do to prevent a repeat. Lawmakers were told it was a “textbook case of mismanagement”.

What was the impact in Europe?

Following the 2008 financial crash, regulators in Europe tightened rules for banks to ensure they were better able to cope with potential losses, and to discourage excessive risk-taking.

Therefore, amid this month’s market turmoil in the US, the EU banking sector “remained strong”, President of the European Central Bank (ECB) Christine Lagarde confirmed on Monday 27th March.

Lagarde told lawmakers at her quarterly Monetary Dialogue with the European Parliament that liquidity ratios – which look at the amount of free cash a bank holds to repay short-term debt – are particularly robust. They are “way above minimum requirements,” she said.

“Confidence in the banking industry is very important,” says Huart. “You can always have a domino effect with a lack of confidence, but what has been put in place by the ECB is a good sign for investors that European banks are sound.”

The Credit Suisse effect?

“Credit Suisse was a collateral victim of this crisis,” says Gil Huart.

Founded in 1856 as a bank for the ultrawealthy elite, Credit Suisse was Switzerland’s largest bank in terms of total assets.

Its implosion on 14th March follows years of missteps and scandal, including significant customer withdrawals, a high-profile data breach, risk and compliance issues, financial losses and the fallout from its relationships with collapsed hedge fund Archegos and Greensill Capital.

“The client deposit base of Credit Suisse decreased by almost 50% in one year,” says Huart. “When you have this kind of liquidity and reputational issues, it is very difficult to get out of. Even if FINMA, the Swiss regulator, tried to support them by setting an emergency liquidity line, it was not enough. So, it appeared that the only solution was a merger with UBS  to avoid the domino effect and limit the contagion to other banks.”

As part of the $3.2 billion takeover deal, approximately 16 billion francs ($17.3 billion) in higher-risk Credit Suisse bonds were wiped out, leaving investors with hefty losses.

Meanwhile, the fact that the two biggest and best-known Swiss banks have merged into one strikes at Switzerland’s reputation as a global financial centre, that is on the cusp of having a single national banking champion and a “more than too big to fail” attitude.

Is it good news for Monaco banks?

While investigations continue in the United States, the impact for investors appears to be short-lived.

“The next days or weeks will be crucial. If no additional event happens, the crisis will be almost forgotten about,” reveals Huart, “and so far it has not had a lot of impact on Monaco, to be honest.”

However, it has given the Principality’s banking centre an opportunity to reaffirm its strong position.

“I am sad for a lot of colleagues who are suffering now from the crises, but Banque Havilland is very well positioned, we have made sure the impact is extremely limited,” says Huart. “Every crisis creates opportunities, and for us it is an opportunity to be very well placed because we have very good liquidity and solvency ratios. So, the crises can benefit Monaco in terms of banks who can demonstrate their soundness, which I believe they are.”

Photo of Gil Huart provided


Nice: Discover the historic vineyards of Bellet this weekend

nice bellet

Over the weekend, producers from Nice’s Bellet wine-growing region will head down from the hills for a gourmet event at the Jardin Albert Ier.

Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd April will see five wine producers from Bellet PDO – Domaine de Toasc, Domaine de la Source, Domaine Saint Jean Bellet, Château de Crémat, Collet de Bovis and Vin de Bellet – collaborate with 10 Niçois chefs for two days of tastings, artisan markets and music.  

The Bellet vineyards, which have earnt themselves the AOP protected origin status and have their own special microclimate, date back to the Roman era and possibly even further back in Antiquity. In relatively more recent times, both Louis XIV and US President Thomas Jefferson were great lovers of Bellet-produced wine.  

The Jardin Albert Ier, which is just off the Promenade des Anglais and is a minute’s walk from the Place Massèna, will host the event between 11am and 7pm.  

For more information, please click here. 


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Photo source: Explore Nice Côte d’Azur