Patrick Laine, chef at ÔMER, Alain Ducasse’s second restaurant in Monaco, reveals a few secrets of this new restaurant which brings together, in one place, all the cuisines and flavours of the Mediterranean…
You define yourself as a discreet and observant person. But what is your philosophy on cooking?
Patrick Laine: In cooking, everything starts with the ingredients. It is essential to always choose the best possible quality. Then it all comes down to precision and rigour, in a pleasant environment.
What is your first gastronomic memory?
P.L: A meal at Georges Blanc in Vonnas. I was barely 20 years old, and the history of this town, around this iconic family, really impressed me.
After earning your stripes alongside Marc Veyrat, you joined forces with Alain Ducasse 20 years ago. What have you learned by working with him?
P.L: What’s touched me the most over these past 20 years is the trust he has placed in me. He’s passed on to me his love of local products and the art of bringing them to life in their greatest simplicity. Alain Ducasse is curious about everything – and that curiosity is contagious! He transmits it to us, demanding we never stop at what we already know.
What is your first memory of Monaco?
Between simplicity, flavours and gastronomy, ÔMER performs an astonishing gourmet repertoire in Monaco…
P.L: Mediterranean cuisine is a frugal cuisine of peasants and modest fishermen. It was up to us to bring our culture and savoir-faire while respecting the origin of the dishes. When we developed the menu, we identified the vegetables, grains, nuts and some cheeses that constitute its essential foundation. Finally, our menu is very much plant-based!
The restaurant’s dining room, designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, resembles a ship. If ÔMER were a boat…
P.L: It would probably be the Calypso, Jacques Cousteau’s ship, which sailed all over the seas and oceans, exploring the underwater world. I also like the legendary character of Cousteau, who gave us so much thanks to his marine discoveries.
Can you describe some mouth-watering ingredients?
P.L: ÔMER is a real cruise around the Mediterranean, with notable stops near its eastern shores: Turkish dolmas, Lebanese falafel, Greek-style marinated sardines… In terms of flavours and aromas, we use garlic, chilli pepper, pepper or paprika to spice up vegetable dishes made with artichokes, fennel, celery, leeks or eggplant. I also like to play around with aromatic herbs and spices. The emphasis on our menu is on mezes to be shared, for a more convivial meal. In the same spirit, meat skewers can be grilled right at the table…
What are your favourite ingredients to work with?
P.L: Fishing is something that lets me relax. So I like working with octopus and squid. I also have a soft spot for artichokes.
Patrick Laine’s favourite signature dish
Hands down, the selection of mezes… A quintessential aspect of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine, they perfectly embody the spirit of ÔMER: one of sharing and generosity. Also, the wide range of specialities in this cuisine allows me to frequently vary the offerings, and so our menu evolves according to our whims and the seasons.