Eco-friendly, local and organic cuisine. Manon Fleury is joining Monte-Carlo Beach for a season full of fresh ideas. At the helm of the Michelin-starred restaurant Elsa, with 100% organic food and wild-caught fish, our new chef, with a unique talent and dazzling career, is concocting exceptional cuisine with conviction: with high standards for product quality and origin, focusing on the terroir and local ecosystem, but above all, a pioneer for “zero waste”.
Had you visited Monte-Carlo Beach before? What did you think?
Manon Fleury: I had never been to Monte-Carlo Beach before, but once I arrived, I knew it was right! It is an exceptional place where I see my values reflected: the commitment to organic products, of course, but also generally eco-responsibility.
Why did you say yes to this establishment?
M.F: I found it very appealing that an establishment of this standing, committed to a sustainable approach and anchored in such a rich terroir, offered me a position as chef.
What is the most inspiring place for you on the Riviera?
M.F: The restaurant Le Louis XV - Alain Ducasse at Hôtel de Paris, which was the first with a menu entirely dedicated to vegetables in 1987. Entitled “Jardins de Provence”, vegetables made their mark on French cuisine.
What is your goal for Elsa?
M.F: I will try to take Elsa even further with the zero-waste, eco-responsible approach. Gender diversity in the kitchen also matters a lot to me. I was able to build a team with three women at Elsa, with the goal of promoting women to senior positions.
Locavore Mediterranean cuisine: was it obvious to you?
M.F: Yes, because the products here, especially during the summer, speak for themselves and need very little help to shine. For me, fresh products are the essence of Mediterranean cuisine.
Now that you’re on the Mediterranean coast, what products do you want to cook?
M.F: Fig leaves, which I love and always come back to! It is used to season dishes and its smell is very intoxicating. It reminds me of coconut — they must have something in common, so it reminds me of something exotic, even though it’s from the Mediterranean terroir.
Is it a challenge to mix your signature cuisine with the philosophy of Monte-Carlo Beach?
M.F: It’s about finding a balance between the philosophy of Monte-Carlo Beach and the cuisine that I want to create. The challenge is to familiarize myself with the setting of Monte-Carlo Beach to create something special at Elsa.
How do you amaze and attract your customers?
M.F: I hope to succeed in attracting regulars and reinventing to interest other customers.
What is your philosophy in the kitchen?
M.F: Being a chef is, above all, being part of an ecosystem. I have infinite respect for living things and a deep environmental conscience, which are at the heart of my “zero waste” approach in the kitchen.
Have you had a mentor who guided and inspired you on your journey?
M.F: All the chefs who taught me inspired me. If I had to choose just one, I would say Pascal Barbot, because I have the most ties to him today. In the cuisine at Elsa, I feel the influence of Alexandre Couillon and his relationship with the sea. The close connection we have with our growers also echoes Dan Barber’s “farm-to-table” approach.
In your opinion, what is the ideal menu?
M.F: In a setting like Elsa, a menu that follows the terroir, by combining products from the sea and the land at the restaurant. Out of respect for these resources, the best menu is a one where nothing is thrown away and everything is used.
Tell us a cooking story.
M.F: When I was a private chef in Greece, there were fig trees everywhere around the house where I worked. That was where I first cooked freshly picked fig leaves. I used them to flavour steamed rice and my steamer basket absorbed their scent.
What is your favourite sense?
Can you whet our appetites with a peek at your new menu?
M.F: The menu is inspired by local nature: King prawns from San Remo, raspberries and nasturtium jelly; Vegetable pie and herbs from the Agerbol garden; Marinated turnip, green olive cream and cherries...