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