Recipient of two Michelin stars and head of the four restaurants at the Metropole Hotel Monte-Carlo; the accolades don’t even begin to articulate the mastery of Christophe Cussac. Known for his creative culinary combinations, haute simplicity and as the close confidant of the late chef Joël Robuchon, chef Cussac delivers a well-orchestrated and flawless culinary experience that has won over global gastronomes. Now, thanks to a recent redesign at the new Metropole Monte-Carlo Restaurant, the French master chef takes the reins from Robuchon, whom he calls his “spiritual father”, and hopes to follow in his teacher’s footsteps. We recently spoke with Cussac about this exciting new venture.
How are you reimagining the new Metropole Monte-Carlo Restaurant?
The cuisine of the Metropole Monte-Carlo Restaurant is Mediterranean, as it is inspired by local products and resources. Our menus are influenced by the richness of the Mediterranean Sea. We work on a daily basis with local producers who offer us high quality products.
Mr. Robuchon taught me essential things: the love for a job well-done, the love of our guests and the rigour. He always left me a lot of autonomy. I wish to perpetuate his values but propose a cuisine that evolves, because it is not something static. This also means training the next generation and constantly seeking innovation. To innovate without losing the product, the taste and keep it simple. To offer a unique and convivial moment, which combine three ingredients: the place and atmosphere, the service and the dish. Today, we are also continually inspired by globalisation and especially social networks on which we discover new inspirations every day. This is very exciting.
What’s the current situation in fine dining right now and what are some of the exciting trends happening?
I foresee a trend in regard to sustainability. Cooking and sourcing are becoming less of an aspiration and more of an expectation by our customers. The Principality of Monaco is very attached to sustainability and the [Metropole Hotel] has adopted more than 10 years ago an environmental policy called “Green Attitude”, which also impacts the way we cook and consume. For example, the Metropole Monte-Carlo Restaurant follows the “Mister Goodfish” programme, encouraged by the Foundation Prince Albert II of Monaco, this association optimises seafood consumption. On a regular basis it helps us to contribute to a sustainable management of resources by choosing the right fish. I also prefer the usage of regional products when creating a dish.
Guests are looking for authenticity, simplicity and conviviality… We also took part in “Less Saves the Planet” initiative, which states that eating 90g of meat or fish per meal is enough for the well-being of each person and consuming less has a considerable impact on the planet. That is why I integrated in our menu options with smaller portions that can be available.
How does the space in which you eat impact the culinary experience?
It has a great impact. With an open kitchen visible from the dining room. I am lucky enough to be able to share some beautiful moments with the clients of the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo. This view of the room accentuates these moments of conviviality since the brigades can exchange with the clientele. What a joy to see the dishes come out of the "pass" and to be a spectator and seeing the pleasure our guests when they taste one of our dishes. The transparency goes both ways as the guests can witness every movement of the kitchen, particularly from “La Table du Chef”, the best spot that offers a great view of the culinary skills of the brigade.
Every day we try to make our guests as happy as possible, to offer them a unique experience and beautiful memories.
What does he think separates Monte-Carlo as a culinary destination?
Monaco is definitely a culinary destination for all tastes. It’s very dynamic and coveted, and new eateries are opening very frequently. There are around 170 restaurants, six of which boast a combined nine Michelin stars. A striking culinary accomplishment in a 2sq km country!
For more information on chef Christophe Cussac and the Metropole Monte-Carlo Restaurant, please visit the website.