Published on November 29, 2018Updated on July 11, 2023
After receiving the honour of a second star in the Michelin Guide, the Blue Bay, located at the heart of the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, is undergoing a transformation. A new layout, new décor, a new terrace and new culinary creations... For Marcel Ravin, one of the most talented chefs of his generation, it is a dream come true. The fruit of conviction and confidence in his culinary approach. His signature style is innovative, generous and authentic. And his food is a bridge between the five continents and his native Martinique. We meet the man who leads the kitchens of the Blue Bay with passion, creativity and an infinite love of taste and pleasure.
How has your food evolved since the beginnings of the Blue Bay?
Marcel Ravin: I allowed myself some time to develop fragments of reality, memories of my childhood. We often talk about the fusion of Caribbean and Mediterranean flavours. But fusion creates confusion. My food is a bridge and an opening onto the five continents through the DNA of the Creole world. And it is permanently evolving thanks to my #teamtchok, to dialogue and sharing.
What’s new on the menu?
Marcel Ravin: The menus change every 3 weeks. As much as we can, we work with what we can get from the garden, from nature and people we meet, to create a universe and develop a poetic culinary signature.
And the institution that is the Marcel Ravin brunch?
Marcel Ravin: We now have a dedicated place for our brunch. A new space, the Calypso, which will have room for just over 200 diners.
How does Monaco influence your food?
Marcel Ravin: Monaco is the land where anything is possible. At the Blue Bay, flavours are not simply juxtaposed or added. They are in a deliberate, structured and organised combination that reflects what I am thinking. I collaborate with small local producers. Terrae, La Boucherie Formia and Le Jardin des Antipodes, to name just a few. Fragments from them make up my creations. It is a poetic act. There is unity beyond what you see.
What is your kitchen philosophy?
Marcel Ravin: I’ve always cooked for others before cooking for myself. But if I don’t take pleasure, intense pleasure, I can’t touch the hearts of my customers. I want to create emotions and make people happy. The other day, a Japanese customer chose one of my signature dishes and called me over to his table. He spoke neither French nor English. He was very moved. His friend explained to me that he felt like he had his eyes covered with each mouthful, that my cooking took him elsewhere on a journey. It was a lovely compliment! That's how I work. I want to move people. Eating is more than just an action. I don’t just cook to bring ingredients together. I design my dishes so that there’s a succession of flavors. An explosion in the mouth.
What kind of experience do you want your guests to have?
Marcel Ravin: I always say yes to requests from customers. People who just want a mixed salad should be served just as well as people who want a caviar dish. Their salad must be crisp and perfectly seasoned. There are no products that are better than others. I have to cater for every whim and every taste. Food intolerances, different faiths: you have to know how to adapt to them. The restaurant should be open to all. That's how I compose my menu. That's my job! We need to stop believing that we’re Superhuman, that we’re artists. We’re craftspeople. There are people who are able to write beautiful plays just by looking at what’s happening in the street. That's how I see cooking.
Do you have any early memories about food?
Marcel Ravin: I used to live self-sufficiently with my grandmother. We had a Creole garden. We ate what we produced and raised. She used to cook while I was at school. When I came home, there was always something waiting for me. I developed a taste memory with her. It's something that became such a part of me that I always promised myself that I’d have my own garden one day.
The Green attitude, according to Marcel Ravin
- The Blue Bay has its own vegetable garden, which was created by the Chef in collaboration with the start-up Terrae, founded by Jessica Sbaraglia, who creates urban organic gardens.
- A species for each season: a charter signed with Mister Good Fish helps to respect marine resources.
- “Responsible Restaurant” certification for the Blue Bay fine dining restaurant.
What is the magic of Monaco for you?
Marcel Ravin: I was 21 years old when I arrived in Monaco for the first time. I ended up at the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo and I immediately knew that I would return there. I said to myself: “See you in 10 years!” I knew that I’d work here one day. 20 years later, they called me, they brought me over in a helicopter, they had faith in me… It was like a dream. Through my cooking, I want to make a little contribution to the magic that is Monaco, because this place has given me everything. Working here was a great opportunity for me. One day, HRH Prince Albert II came for dinner and told me: “I hope that you stay with us for a long time”. I replied that I’ll stay for as long as Monaco wants me. This place was really meant for me...
Why has the Blue Bay become one of the top places to go in Monaco?
Marcel Ravin: It’s due to a long period of work wished for since the opening of the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort in 2005. It’s due to a respect for nature and a commitment to cooking and working with the ingredients our kitchen garden has to offer. And it’s due to conviction, boldness and creativity!
Is your second Michelin star a dream come true?
Marcel Ravin: Deep down I’ve always wanted it, absolutely. Mostly for personal reasons: I love Monaco, I love the Resort, and I love this incredible hotel.
How did you feel when you found out you’d got that second star?
Marcel Ravin: It was very emotional. You know how much I love my island. I thought of all the young people who would love the chance to get in the door at luxury establishments, and write their own story the way I have done. I thought of my family and my son, who is all grown up now, and how I would like to pass on a passion to him. Not cooking necessarily, but one he finds on his own, like I found mine. After my children, that passion has become my purpose in life.
What does this second star mean to you?
Marcel Ravin: Lots of people would say it’s a blessing, but for me, it’s about consistent hard work and commitment. It feels amazing to know all that work has been rewarded! And it’s all down to our teams, and the customers who put their trust in us and come back time and time again.
What do you remember in particular from the awards ceremony for this new star?
Marcel Ravin: Seeing all the Michelin-starred chefs made me rethink my career. I felt a sense of pride when I realised that I was finally a part of the fine dining world, which had been a dream of mine since I was very young. Now – without wanting to blow my own trumpet – I finally feel like those other chefs’ equal.
Marcel Ravin’s favorites
Your latest discovery in terms of ingredients? The Moringa, or “tree of life”.
Your latest culinary find? The “Niwaki”, a Japanese restaurant in Monaco.