Renowned chef brings Azur magic to Bei­jing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - HOSPITALITY - By LI YINGXUE liy­ingxue@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The in­ter­na­tion­ally-fa­mous restau­rant Mi­razur in the French Riviera run by Ital­ian-Ar­gen­tinean chef Mauro Co­la­greco — who has strong pro­fes­sional and per­sonal links to Bei­jing — moved up one place from fourth to third in the World’s 50 Best Restau­rant 2018 rank­ings, re­leased by the Bri­tish mag­a­zine Restau­rant.

Co­la­greco, who vis­its China’s cap­i­tal to bring his own kind of gas­tro­nomic in­spi­ra­tion, grew up in a fam­ily where fine cui­sine al­ways plays a part in the at­mos­phere.

Hav­ing trav­eled widely to sa­vor var­i­ous culi­nary tra­di­tions and worked with renowned restau­ra­teurs and chefs, Co­la­greco es­tab­lished his own Mi­razur restau­rant in 2006 in Men­ton, France.

He was awarded his first Miche­lin star just 10 months af­ter the restau­rant opened its door to vis­i­tors.

In 2012, he was re­warded with his sec­ond Miche­lin star.

Co­la­greco chooses to mag­nify the fra­grances and fla­vors of the south of France in sim­ple and gen­uine cui­sine at Azur in Shangri-La Ho­tel Bei­jing.

He says Azur is “the place” where ser­vice is a pas­sion and cui­sine is pre­ci­sion — bal­anced to taste or share in a bliss­ful mix of tra­di­tions.

This Septem­ber, Co­la­greco was back at Azur, in­tro­duc­ing his new au­tumn menu and sig­na­ture dishes fea­tur­ing sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents, to­gether with his new book Mi­razur.

Au­tumn is a ver­sa­tile sea­son for in­gre­di­ents, Co­la­greco said. It means ta­bles are prac­ti­cally groan­ing un­der the weight of fresh pro­duce.

In­spired by the sea, gar­den and moun­tains, his new menu fea­tures rich in­gre­di­ents, in­clud­ing oys­ters, fish and crabs from the sea, fresh veg­eta­bles and fruits from the chef’s own gar­den and the lo­cal mar­ket, as well as beef and lamb from the moun­tains.

The dishes are slightly heav­ier in tex­ture and fla­vor, he said, be­cause of the cool and crisp au­tumn weather.

These stewed and baked nu­tri­tious dishes — us­ing beef, lamb, seafood, but­ter and cheese — com­ple­ment the menu.

The au­tumn sig­na­ture menu starts from just 1,088 yuan ($160). Spe­cial­ties on the newly launched menu in­clude Dover sole fish with cit­rus but­ter and braised en­dives, Veal blan­quette, ten­der Aus­tralian veal beef cooked with a tar­ragon sauce and New Zealand rack of lamb, and stewed sweet potato with nuts and dates.

All-time fa­vorites, such as Quinoa risotto, mush­rooms, potato, pars­ley foam, French Gil­lardeau oys­ters, shal­lots whipped cream and Wil­liams pear dec­li­na­tion, re­main on the menu.

“Au­tumn is a har­vest time and the weather is get­ting cold, which is why we add a va­ri­ety of gar­den, sea and moun­tain-fresh pro­duce to the menu so that ev­ery diner can not only en­joy the warmth of the sea­son, but also the gifts of na­ture,” says Co­la­greco.

Co­la­greco’s first book Mi­razur was re­leased on Sept 17 at Azur. It took him three years to pre­pare.

“It’s a very per­sonal book, not just a cook book — it’s a jour­ney of a chef’s culi­nary ca­reer start­ing from 12 years ago,” says Co­la­greco, who thinks it’s spe­cial to launch his first book at his sec­ond home in Azur, in China.

“It’s about the restau­rant — we try to ex­plain how we were and how spe­cial Mi­razur is,” Co­la­greco adds.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Mauro Co­la­greco, two-star Miche­lin chef, and some of his sig­na­ture dishes.

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