Stage Story: Kiran Kim

Kiran Kim went to stage at Mirazur in Menton, France to learn about integrating heritage with local cuisine. 

I had an amazing time in Chef Mauro Colagreco’s Mirazur restaurant. I was so lucky to witness the awarding ceremony naming Mirazur as The World’s Best Restaurant 2019 towards the latter part of my stay. It was the most memorable moment of my time there. Mirazur is located near the French-Italian border and has an unrivaled views of the French Riviera. Due to its geographic location near the Mediterranean Sea, the use of fresh seafoods combined with the produce of its rich vegetation makes it perfect for a best restaurant to thrive. 

I picked Mirazur for my grant trip because I want to gain more insight on how Chef Mauro’s Italian-Argentinian heritage give vibrant taste to local French cuisine. I also wanted to learn from him on his unique style in the cuisine. The challenge for me is the language. However, I was able to cope because I am used to working with English speaking colleagues. What remained as a challenge is French which they keep as a language when interacting with customers.

I started off working at the pastry station and learned their style. I am a savory chef, however, I had a feeling my colleagues at pastry thinks I am a pastry chef. Then I realized, on several occasions, that pastry section is really a good place to start for me. A chef with good arsenal of pastry recipes really has an advantage. I consider myself lucky to have worked with them because I’m taking with me their unique style and flavor of desserts.  What I liked most amongst the desserts is the dried nori flavored chocolate ganache. Pastry Chef Analiza mentored me until I was able to create it on my own. She patiently showed and explained to me every detail and process until I learned it.

Most of the desserts in Mirazur uses cold broths. It reminded me of making a clear soup with bunch of ingredients.  For example, we made a broth with red cabbage, lemongrass, cilantro, lemon and gelatinized them, and then served in a clear bowl with rhubarb.  We also picked elderflower and lavender daily to make espuma or sorbet at the Mirazur garden, which is great!  I learned how to assemble the ingredients and helped them plating during a lunch service.  Since Garde Manger is nearby, I also got a stint in their team and had a chance to taste and learn their menu.

I had a great time working at Mirazur Garden for two hours a day and mostly in the morning.  I still have vivid memories of the time when I climbed up to the top of its garden.  The beautiful Mediterranean Sea unfolded before my eyes.  It was a beautiful garden terraces.  There were all kinds of organic vegetables, flowers, fruits, and herbs.  Every plant in the garden is precious to Mirazur everyday.  The chef decides the menu of the day depending on which ingredients are available from the garden.  Mirazur ensures that natural flavors are emphasized on every dish.

For my second month, Chef moved me to the hot line.  I learned more about their unique style of protein cooking, sauces, and main course garnishes. All the chefs were kind enough to listen to my questions and they patiently explained the details to me.  I really appreciated them.

I would say that the strong point of Mirazur restaurant is finding the right combination of ingredients and consistency.  What's their secret?  Mirazur controls the number of their guests.  At one night, they only admitted 40.  I realized that the right number of guests is more important than sophisticated skills or technique.  This means that the chefs can control the food and service quality easily well.

Besides his well-balanced ensembles of flavors, Mirazur Restaurant blends well with the land scape of seas and mountains, as well as a good mix of culture.  Chef Mauro's Italian-Argentinian heritage blends well with the French cooking in Menton.  It is the combination of all this things that makes Mirazur one of the best restaurants in the world.  Chef Mauro's philosophy and my learning from Mirazur is what I need to grow my talent and skills as a chef.  Lastly, thank you so much Ment’or for giving me a great change to grow through this valuable trip.