Over the course of 2021, we were reminded time and time again that the most important part of a travel experience is the people. Distinctive architecture, stylish interior design and lavish amenities are all worthy attributes, but no hotel or restaurant receives an Andrew Harper recommendation without having staff members who are warm, efficient and sincere. Providing this sort of service in the current circumstances is more difficult than usual, but nevertheless, we encountered numerous exceptional individuals who rose to the occasion.
Chef of the Year: Mauro Colagreco
Ceto, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France
Mirazur, Menton, France
It was in 2021 that Mauro Colagreco became one of the most influential chefs in France. He joins a new generation of younger 40-something chefs who are seizing the reins as the old guard retires. At his new restaurant, Ceto, in The Maybourne Riviera hotel on the Côte d’Azur, Colagreco has boldly plotted a new course for French haute cuisine based on the pleasures of healthy eating and environmental sustainability. The spectacular talent of the Argentine-born chef had already won him three Michelin stars for his restaurant Mirazur in Menton. And now he’s rebooting Mirazur with a menu that stars vegetables from the organic gardens he tends himself nearby. “During the lockdowns, I spent a lot of time in my gardens, and I became fascinated by the impact of the cycles of the moon on plants. They really have a big impact on how a vegetable matures and tastes, so I started creating dishes to showcase these vegetables at their very best on a grid of the lunar cycle,” Colagreco explains. “It may sound crazy, but it really works. One way or another, the cooking of the 21st century will be closer to and more respectful of nature.”