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Aug 20, 2006

Cooking Classes by the Sereno Chef

grabowski Jean-Luc Grabowski has been in charge of the kitchen at the Restaurant des Pêcheurs at the Sereno Hotel since last season. His innovative recipes highlight local products and entice clients from the island as well as the hotel itself.

On Friday nights the special is his bouillabaisse, the acclaimed dish from the South of France, featuring fish in a delicious sauce, which he makes by scrupulously following the original recipe that he committed to paper with some restaurant friends in Marseille. To make sure he gets the best ingredients, he works with the suppliers that have the best reputations. The menu has a large selection of local fish and shellfish that the chef buys from certain of the island's fishermen

"I chose cooking because I love to eat and enjoy the pleasures of a good meal," he admits. After 22 years of loyal service behind the stoves of some of the best restaurants in Monaco, with a multitude of professional accolades ("Golden Fork" in 1984, 15/20 in the Gault-Millau guide in 1985, one star in the Michelin guide in 1986, silver medal in the Windsor Cooking Olympics 1992), he decided to travel around the world in search of new flavors. His visit to Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean, and to the Seychelles where he ran the five-star restaurant at the St. Anne Resort, allowed him to dream up new recipes and add a mix of unusual flavors to the menu at Les Pêcheurs.

Jean-Luc Grabowski is passionate about his profession, and is happy to share this passion. He is the author of three cookbooks and is a member of Monaco's "taste and flavors" association. Every Thursday afternoon, he teaches a cooking class: a first in St. Barth! A dozen lucky people get to put on a chef's hat and apron to try out a recipe and learn the secrets of the Sereno kitchens. At first the classes were reserved for the clients of the hotel, but they are now open to anyone who would like to try their hand at the kind of dishes that are normally only served in the top-name restaurants.

Aware of the importance of training the next generation, Jean-Luc Grabowski created "St. Martin tastes and flavors," an association of chefs from St. Barth and St. Martin, whose goal is to promote French cuisine while integrating local products and spices, as well as transmitting their special know-how to young chefs. He regularly accepts interns from the hotel school in St. Martin, and last year one of his young protégés was selected to participate in the finale of the Grand Cordon d'Or, a cooking competition created in Monaco in 1826 by Auguste Escoffier. This competition, recognized by the profession, places the best students from French hotel schools before a jury composed of some of the best French chefs of the moment.

Cécile Lucot


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