“Now I don't like being feared in the kitchen. I prefer to feel loved” explains the reformed chef.
The challenges Colagreco overcame give context to the person. “I am like any other man”, he explains, “fear and lack of economic tranquillity put you in situations bordering on physical and psychological violence.”
From the shame he felt in giving up his economics degree to pursue cooking, to his first mentor, Bernard Loiseau, who took his own life, and the financial gamble of opening his first restaurant outside of Paris, “I was crazy. I opened with only twenty-five thousand euros in my pocket”. His career trajectory has not been without its personal challenges.
However, in the hours following the 50 Best award ceremony the restaurant received 6000 requests for table reservations, and even now there’s no longer a free table for lunch or dinner Colagreco admits. With the accolades in place, it seems his fears have subsided, and a sense of tranquillity has finally arrived.
“Success has allowed me to learn to control my adrenaline during the service ", continues Colagreco, who also trains by boxing in the morning.
From the man he was to the man he has become; it seems that the popular chef has finally found peace with himself and his surroundings. “When I arrived in Menton I didn't know anything about the French Riviera, and this gave me a great possibility of expression. And in the end, it is right here, in this unique place where it is hot all year round and behind it, there are the snow-capped Maritime Alps, that I discovered my way. I'm fine in France, I believe in the values of the French Republic, freedom, equality, fraternity. But I could live anywhere. I live on a border, but my kitchen has none at all."