After gaining his first star in 2015, the chef of the Blue Bay at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort has seen his talent rewarded with a second star in the 2022 Michelin Guide. It’s a fitting accolade for this chef from Martinique, who is lighting up Monegasque gastronomy.
Every day I’m in love with what I do, in love with cooking, in love with fine ingredients…”. Marcel Ravin, one of the most gifted chefs of his generation, speaks like he cooks – with passion, emotion and sensuality! His dishes contain a dash of his native Martinique, a good dose of creativity, an infinite love of flavour and the desire to give pleasure. “I’ve always cooked for others rather than for myself. But if I don’t take pleasure in it – intense pleasure – I can’t touch the hearts of my customers. I want to excite them and make them happy, take them on a journey with a succession of flavours, create an explosion in their mouths.” Marcel Ravin’s cuisine draws on his personal history and memory bank of flavours – his “mental palate”. “When I was a child,
I lived independently with my grandmother. We had a Creole garden. We ate what we produced and raised ourselves. When I came home from school, there was always a delicious dish waiting for me.
I developed a memory bank of flavours with her.” At 17 he moved to the city, cutting his teach in eastern France, Brussels, then Lyon, and forging a brilliant career that finally brought him to the Principality. “At 21 I was working in the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, and I instantly knew I would come back. Twenty years later, they called me, flew me here by helicopter, and placed their trust in me… It was a dream come true!
So Marcel Ravin became Executive Chef of the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort when it opened in 2005. He had to create and build everything from the ground up, developing a style of cooking that was universal, spirited and intense, just like the atypical chef himself.
Today his talent is fuelled by his personal journey from his birthplace in the Caribbean to his adopted land of Monaco, blending his encounter with the Mediterranean with the gastronomic cultures he has discovered during his travels. Marcel Ravin is also inspired by the here and now, where possible using seasonal ingredients that he grows in his organic vegetable garden, the one he promised himself he would have one day when he was a child. He then gets to work in his open kitchen: “It makes me feel calm, and also allows everyone to see each other at work, watch the ballet unfold in the dining room. Seeing the customers’smiling faces inspires you to be even more creative.” His savoir-faire is informed by careful, delicate, sensitive actions: “I really like the sense of touch. Before tasting food, I touch it. Before cooking food, I touch it. My fingertips are very sensitive. I try to teach my chefs that they sometimes need to use a light touch. When I put an ingredient on a plate, it’s the ingredient that guides my hand.” The two-starred chef listens to the ingredients. And his customers. “I always say yes if they ask for something. I respect their wishes, tastes, dietary restrictions, likes and dislikes: you have to know how to adapt. The restaurant needs to be open to everyone. We must also stop pretending that we’re Supermen, or artists. We are artisans.” Nevertheless, with his cuisine Marcel Ravin contributes to the magic of Monaco, which he describes as “a place that has given me everything.” One day, HSH Prince Albert II came for dinner.
“I hope you stay with us for a long time, he told me. ‘I’ll stay for as long as Monaco wants me to, I replied. This place was truly meant for me…”.