Prince Albert and Princess Charlene were not the only stars to shine on Saturday night, as Monaco’s celebrated Michelin starred chefs came together for the Festival des Etoilés Gala in the stunning Salle Empire of the Hôtel de Paris.
The annual journey into the twinkling galaxy of the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) came to an end on Saturday 11th November, as Michelin starred Chefs Dominique Lory, Marcel Ravin, Yannick Alléno and Alain Ducasse and their teams came together for the grand finale of the third edition of the Festival des Etoilés.
It was a proud moment for Stéphane Valeri, who opened the gala for the first time as head of Monte-Carlo SBM.
“Firstly, thank you to our starred chefs, the daily artisans of the magic of Monaco,” he began. “I thank them all and their brigades in the kitchen. We cannot forget our talented sommeliers for having worked in unison for many months to make this festival a success.”
It is perhaps the most luxurious food festival in the world, organised by one of the most starred resorts on the planet. From 29th September to 3rd November, SBM’s Michelin starred chefs were able to invite some of Europe’s most talented chefs to their kitchens for a series of ‘Four Hands’ dinners that uniquely paired the culinary greats.
If that wasn’t enough, the Festival des Etoilés Gala brought together SBM’s starred chefs for a final celebration of Monaco’s unique gastronomic standing. The emblematic Salle Empire of the Hôtel de Paris was their stage as the chefs performed some of their greatest hits, supported by Monaco’s top sommliers and an army of white-gloved servers.
Among the crowd of privileged guests were Prince Albert and his wife Princess Charlene, and their nephew Louis Ducruet and his wife Marie.
Michelin starred Chef Dominique Lory, of Le Grill, served up his signature dish of langoustine, gamberoni and red mullet delivered on a delicate bouillabaisse jelly. It came with a crisp 2021 Les Romains of the Domaine Vacheron Sancerre.
Next, Yannick Alléno, creator of the Michelin starred Pavyllon Monte-Carlo, presented his turbot fillet with bone marrow and ‘garlic toast’, accompanied by a Côte Catalanes ‘la D18’, Domaine Pithon 2020, which brought a touch of “wildness and harmony to the dish”, as per the wish of Chef Alléno.
“Why this dish? Because I like to follow the seasons,” said the multi-Michelin starred chef. “I like to follow the mood of my contemporaries. As we enter this colder period, we need a warmer and more nourishing cuisine. I think the turbot, married with the bone marrow, fits that brief spectacularly.”
As live music resonated from above the stage, the journey continued with Marcel Ravin, of the two-starred Blue Bay, and his Caribbean-influenced smoked black Piedmont chicken with textures of vegetable ravioli, sweet potato sabayon and sweet and sour sugar cane vinegar sauce. It was finished with a 2017 Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Givens, Domaine Sérafin.
“The dish is, of course, in keeping with the narrative we tell through our cooking: local produce, the environment in which we live, and the harvests from our kitchen gardens,” said the chef, as videos of him cooking were projected on the large screens. “Our cuisine is sustainable, seasonal, creative, daring and well-travelled.”
The dessert was another celebration of the seasons, this time orchestrated by the famous Alain Ducasse and Sandro Micheli, the head pastry chef of his flagship three Michelin starred Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse: confit butternut pumpkin with anise and praline, alongside fromage blanc mousse and yuzu granita. A perfectly paired 2018 Coteaux du Layon Rochefort – Château Pierre-Brise drew the curtain on what was another spectacular gastronomic showing by the culinary artists of Monte-Carlo SBM.
“As promised at the start of the evening, every flavour, every smile, every moment shared this evening has helped weave incredible memories into the gastronomic history of our resort,” Stephane Valéri closed the evening by saying. “And it is all thanks to these men and women behind the scenes that we have been able to celebrate the culinary arts under the canopy of the resort’s seven Michelin stars.”
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Main photo credit: Eric Mathon, Prince’s Palace