STAR CHEF WASHES ASHORE
For someone who toils under hot lamps and open fires, nothing but a row of Michelin stars screams that you've made it. These red embroidered stars are like Oscar statuettes that you wear on your lapel. Mauro Colagreco is one chef with three stars emblazoned on his double breasted coat. The last in his culinary constellation was acquired this past year for his French establishment, Mirazur, located in Menton, France. According to the Michelin Guide's write up, "In front of the Mediterranean Sea, the chef allows his customers to live a unique and enchanting gastronomic moment. Here, the dishes offered invariably follow the cycle of the seasons and magnify with delicacy and subtlety the products of the sea and the mountains, as well as the fruit and vegetables cultivated in the kitchen garden of the chef. At Mirazur, the menu is always full of amazing surprises that play with textures and combine bold flavors with simple and colorful presentation."
Colagreco has built a global food fiefdom. He helms restaurants in Beijing, Macau and his native Buenos Aires. But when it was time to partner with his first US launch, he chose Palm Beach and the Four Seasons Resort. His newer restaurant is Florie's, like a nickname for this peninsula of pleasure.
"Something about this location reminds me of the Cote d'Azure," he tells Barefoot Palm Beach (BPB). "The beauty of the ocean, the mild climate, the delicious local food purveyors."
While he carries on a demanding schedule, he told BPB that after some events in Palm Beach and Miami he was heading home to Argentina to spend family time and have his mother in law cook for a change. Of course, when asked if she was Michelin star worthy, he immediately said yes. Then he invited BPB to have a seat at the table for a decadent lunch.
Florie's features dishes with local and international provisions. They are plated in colorful combinations, but without being over the top or intimidating. It's just enough of a visual tease to set off the brain and create a chain reaction that ends on your tongue. Every meal starts with a beautiful round bread loaf that looks almost like a clover. It's served with an olive oil infused with ginger. It's heavenly! (I mean, what is it with all these restaurants skipping the bread basket? I can be gluten free at home, but now out!). Some stand out dishes include the Florida Snapper ceviche with leche de tigre, the heirloom tomato and persimmon carpaccio dusted with Sicilian pistachios, the Caribinero prawn and Four Story Hill chicken wading in a kefir lime beurre blanc. The main courses included a Florida Snapped baked in an igloo of sea salt and filled with Meyer lemons and aromatics. Also, a local Wagyu beef rack from Jackman ranch that would have made Fred Flintstone giddy. And while I usually try to skip dessert, the Rose Mille-Feuille with lychee and raspberries was unstoppable and enough to require a pit stop to this charming new addition to the Palm Beach coast. We'll take two of this three-starred genius' offerings. Let's welcome Florie's, Mauro and be grateful for this acquired taste maker's new stopping ground.