The story of Dominique Lory and the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo is a 15-year tale of passion, gastronomy and great professionalism. After having demonstrated his talent as head chef at Le Louis XV - Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris, Lory has been named the new Executive Chef for all of this grand hotel’s kitchens. The perfect opportunity to hear from him about this new challenge, his passion for his work, his love of sharing and his indestructible link with Monaco.
What does it mean to you to become the new Executive Chef at the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo?
Dominqiue Lory: It is an honour and makes me feel extremely proud! After 24 years with Mr Ducasse, including 11 as head chef at Le Louis XV - Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris, naturally, I will come in with a fresh perspective, as well as different expertise and sensibilities. I will be able to bring my vision and experience to the Hotel’s restaurants.
From Le Grill to Le Bar Américain, from room service to the Salle Empire… What will be your philosophy as Executive Chef across the prestigious restaurants at the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo?
D.L: Our food is and always will be about sharing. The priority: to delight our customers, and our staff too. I share this vision with my teams on a daily basis by being at their side, by giving them the right instincts. If they work with me, they understand my way of operating, of preparing food that comes from the heart, that is generous, with an emphasis on good seasoning and local products, cooked the right way. In line, as closely as possible, with the seasons. And food that celebrates conviviality.
What is it about the cuisine of the Riviera that appeals to you?
D.L: Its taste, its lightness... It is bursting with sunshine, very summery. And again, its cuisine is for sharing. Here, it’s always sunny, so when you sit down to eat, it’s very colourful. Courgettes, peppers in the summer, peas in the spring. I like this plant-based, light and flavoursome cuisine. We use very little butter and hardly any cream. The most common ingredient in Riviera cuisine is olive oil.
Can you say a few words about Le Grill?
D.L: Le Grill, located on the eighth floor of the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo and open every day of the week and year, is magnificent! Pigeon breast from Bresse, small spelt and blackcurrant, Provencal rack of lamb in savory crust and unmissable soufflés... All of Le Grill’s emblematic dishes can be enjoyed while admiring the incredible view over Le Rocher and the Mediterranean. Of course, the menu is seasonal and most servings – of beef, pasture-raised chicken, fish – are carved in front of the customer. Few restaurants offer this on the scale we do, it really is Le Grill’s speciality! We are very lucky to have such a beautiful Michelin-starred restaurant inside the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo.
Do you have a memory from Le Louis XV - Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris that you would like to share?
D.L: When I arrived, 11 years ago, the regulars weren’t aware that I had begun working there. Some asked if the chef had changed as the flavours had changed. They knew that my food was different. They had experienced new emotions. We are lucky to be able to do this in our line of work. This restaurant is a flagship at Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer. With Emmanuel Pilon, who was my sous-chef and who has just been named chef, the transition will be gentler.
What is your fondest memory of Monaco?
D.L: The 25th anniversary of Le Louis XV - Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris, which was the biggest event I’ve done so far. Cocktails at Le Grill, 300 Michelin stars united for the gala dinner in the Salle Empire and at Le Louis XV and a sumptuous brunch to end the weekend. It was slightly crazy, but also incredible, fantastic. I will never forget it.
What is your keyword when it comes to cooking?
D.L: Sharing! To cook good food, you have to want to share. Cooking is about giving someone wonderful memories.
What is the greatest compliment you have ever received?
D.L: It was from a little girl, aged just 6 years old, who, with her most beautiful smile, said to me: Thank you very much, it’s the best meal I’ve had in my whole life!
What kitchen utensil are you never without?
D.L: A spoon, for tasting. We must always taste the food to know what we are sending out to our customers.
And a favourite ingredient?
D.L: Olive oil! The basis of Riviera cuisine. Not a single day goes by when I don’t use it. Also, Menton lemons, they are wonderful!