The two Michelin-starred Blue Bay, managed by Chef Marcel Ravin, is located at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort offering an unforgettable culinary experience. Blue Bay offers both a cutting-edge designed dining room overlooking an open kitchen for culinary lovers, as well as a spectacular atmosphere at its terrace with breath-taking panoramic views.
This signature restaurant of the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort has a contemporary and trendy decor, complementing a unique style of cuisine with diverse influences that take diners on a journey of the senses.
Chef Marcel Ravin has managed the kitchens at Blue Bay since its inauguration with his innovative culinary style and tremendous skills.
Leaving his native island to learn the art of cooking in Alsace, Lyon, and Brussels, Chef Ravin combines the culinary style of his Caribbean origins with the treasures of the southern land and sea, so dear to the people of Monaco.
What would the dish be that brings back the most childhood memories for you?
“All my cooking is built on childhood memories. I grew up with my grandmother and all the “great people” around me as we say back home. I had the chance to be frequently in their small kitchens, to taste many different things, and to do this all in a family atmosphere. My cooking is inspired by all these happy memories, which come back to me like a boomerang thanks to perfumes, smells, cooking, and other sensory elements,” – says Marcel.
It took a year of collaboration for Peggy Desmeules and Marcel Ravin to succeed in designing unique pieces which bring the chef’s journey to its essential point: evoking the wonderful Caribbean seabed in emotions and relief.
Chef Ravin’s cuisine is inspired by his Martinique origins, by the mix of Caribbean and Mediterranean influences, which give his cuisine a uniquely delicious and refined flavour profile.
What is your favourite taste combination?
“My favourite combination of tastes is acidity-bitterness. I like frank tastes with hints of subtlety. Depending on the season, I like notes of undergrowth or other iodine-like tastes.”
At Blue Bay, the food is intimately tied to the identity of Chef Ravin. When Chef Ravin accepted to be the head chef of Blue Bay, he brought with him the cuisine, spices, products, and original recipes from his native Caribbean home. This baggage, which Chef Ravin calls his “mind palate”, guided him on his path and shaped his identity, becoming the basis of his culinary identity.
These veritable works of art transports us to a place of fishing parties described by Chef Ravin.
“Water and fishing are part of the story of my beginnings of “ti boug” (child in Creole). The sea belongs to my geographical and environmental roots… It is here that I learned to explore the depths of my imagination to better understand the visible transformation of the elements.”
Chef Ravin set out to blend culinary influences from his native French West Indies with the treasures offered by the land and sea of his newly adopted Mediterranean home. This creativity and tenacity were rewarded in 2015, when Blue Bay was awarded its first Michelin star. This year, Blue Bay earned its second Michelin star.
How did you get the news that Blue Bay received its second Michelin star?
“I learned it in Cognac, during the ceremony on March 22, 2022. I was present in the assembly.”
How do you feel being honoured with two Michelin stars? What does it mean to you?
“It is a real honour, a reward for the work accomplished with the team. This represents greater visibility for us. We have noticed since obtaining this second star, that customers are more attentive to our universe, more curious and proud to come and dine with us.”
Do you think the Blue Bay restaurant will receive its third star soon?
“I went for the first star when no one was expecting it. It was a personal ambition at the start, I gave myself the means to achieve it.
Today, this second star represents work and we will work above all to preserve it. If this second star evolves, we would of course also be very proud of the third one because if we had to limit ourselves to two stars, it would mean that we are not ambitious.”
A mirror of the soul of the starred Chef delights the clientele of Blue Bay. Featuring four elements of the marine world: the dome plate, the sea urchin plate, the coral plate, and the creel plate. The fifth element consists of the audacious cuisine which goes perfectly with the tableware to form together into a single piece of art.
Since Chef Ravin likes precise gestures and grants importance to their beauty to avoid any impairing, one single motion from the head waiter is sufficient to turn the sculpture around, which then transforms on the plate, signifying the start of the culinary voyage.
Your platings are like a form of art, do you imagine them as well when you plan the courses?
“Nothing is thought out ahead of time. It’s a mix between the lightness of the gesture and the meticulousness of the work of the elements that I respect so much, which produces a nice dish,” – starts Marcel. – “I have always been attracted by what is “Beau & Bon” because, in my opinion, these are the essentials that touch the soul.
Indeed, I also attach great importance to the beauty of my dishes because it is what attracts at first, and it is the taste that follows it. I chose this job from my heart and soul, I wanted to do it at the highest level. It’s a real passion, I feel elevated when I cook and that’s what leads me to do beautiful things.”
Blue Bay also offers a memorable experience with its open kitchen layout, where Chef Ravin can oversee the restaurant whilst adding the finishing touches to dishes that are a feast for the eyes and the palate.
Passionate about cooking, Chef Ravin innovates and brings modern twists to traditional cuisine. When seated next to Blue Bay‘s open kitchen, one can observe his polished technique that has brought the culinary repertoire of the Blue Bay restaurant to the heights of the best gastronomy in Monaco.
Close to the centre of the kitchen, between the dining room and the ovens, chef Marcel Ravin has created an exceptional table for two people, called “La Table de Marcel“.
This unique, ultra-sensory experience consists of 14 creations for a moment of sharing and conviviality, for an unusual evening during which Chef Marcel Ravin will plunge you into his culinary universe imprinted with creativity and sensitivity. This journey of tastes includes a Champagne aperitif, wine, and the discovery of an old rum from Martinique.
How have your roots influenced you?
“It happened very regularly that customers told me that they found Asian, Lebanese, or Indian notes in my kitchen. I was aware of my Martinique origins but it was then that I undertook a more in-depth investigation of my origins to understand what my history and identity were.
I went back to my family tree and was able to discover that indeed, on the maternal side I had Indian origins and also a Chinese ancestor. The Caribbean is a melting pot of all these ethnic origins, which has created the Creole world and culture. I realised that I had to tap into this DNA to bring my cuisine to life.”
Chef Ravin’s atypical and authentic route is narrated in the autobiographical work “From one Rock to Another – Itinerary of a Chef” (Editions La Martinière). In it, Chef Ravin tells tales from his childhood up to his adult life, and associates 60 recipes with every step of his life. It is the testimony of his life, a wonderful and moving confession prefaced by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and by Chef Alain Ducasse.
How has Monaco influenced your cooking style?
“Monaco has opened the field of possibilities to me. I have never been judged by my origins, my identity, or my colour here. As soon as I arrived in the Principality, I was offered complete freedom of expression. This is why I am very attached to Monaco, this country where I have always felt respected as a human being .”
The chef has also signed a second book: “Best of Marcel Ravin”, published by Editions Ducasse. It is set out like a step-by-step cookery class with illustrations and tips to successfully create his recipes like a pro.
Chef Ravin was also featured in the “Signature Dishes of the Principality of Monaco”, co-authored by Zsolt Szemerszky and Bradley Mitton.
Which is your favourite restaurant in Monaco? Do you visit other restaurants?
“I certainly go to other restaurants in Monaco to participate as best as I can in this economy. In all confidence, there is a restaurant outside of Monaco that I visit a lot. This is the Petit Port in Menton. It is a Mediterranean family bistro, which I particularly like because it is “pagnolesque”, the atmosphere transports us into a film or a play.”
Chef Ravin, a humanist at heart, has forged a mixed identity, combining his past and his own fond memories with the countless resources of the Côte d’Azur. In this manner, his culinary partition has gathered an audience of connoisseur gourmets in his restaurant facing the sea at Blue Bay.
His tenacity and creativity were rewarded with two Michelin stars. Thanks to his great intuition, Marcel Ravin has successfully transferred his Caribbean repertoire and merged these different influences, infusing his cooking with studied and delicious flavours: corn-fed free-range guinea fowl, foie gras with pistachio pesto from Martinique, cabbage, and truffle.
His signature dish is an organic egg with truffle, cassava, and maracuja juice (passion fruit in creole); and his signature dessert is chocolate and passion fruit partition with cocoa beans and passion fruit sauce. His audacity has propelled the Blue Bay restaurant to shine amongst the essential gastronomy bastions of the Principality.
A bright-eyed Chef who cooks faithfully and from the heart, Marcel Ravin takes risks, innovates, and challenges himself. His studied, delicate movements bring about a feminine style of cuisine, which he describes as: “it reminds me of my grandmother’s style”. His passion and emotion push him on towards the enchanting shores of fusion cuisine that is so rare in Europe and has just been discovered in Monaco.
His creative cuisine was rewarded in November 2018 by the Gault et Millau food guide in its new edition on the Caribbean-French Guiana, which lists 215 restaurants in Guadeloupe, Martinique, the North Islands, and French Guiana. In 42 years of its existence, it was the first time that the second gastronomic guide in the world (after the Michelin), present in 23 countries, has published a guide on Creole cuisine.
For its first edition, the Guide decided to award the Chef of the Year Trophy to Chef Ravin at a ceremony in Martinique on 30 November 2018. This reward was given to Chef Ravin for his work in the Tour Simon restaurant.
As the world is changing and becoming more conscious of how we use the natural resources of our planet, what would your message be for being aware and finding the balance of healthy, conscious and creative, high-end gastronomy?
“We tend to think that if we use top-of-the-range products, which come from the end of the world, the cuisine will be better. But in reality, by consuming local foods and respecting seasonality, we reduce the environmental impact and help our health. For my part, I live by the rhythm of what my Mediterranean artisans can give me. For example, I do not offer five different fish on my menus. It is essential to reconnect with the environment in which we evolve.”
One of the key elements of the exceptional tastes at Blue Bay is the fact that most of the seasonal fruits and vegetables are freshly harvested locally, in the Monaco area thanks to Terre de Monaco, founded by Jessica Sbaraglia. Using local products is more than a commitment for Chef Ravin; it is a priority. One can observe that the plants picked close to the restaurant are at the centre of the dish; the meat and fish are accompaniments.
“I find inspiration in my gardens. I like to walk around and observe nature in all its serenity, seeing how things grow and live. Nature has a great influence on my creative process because I was lucky enough to have grown up with my grandmother in Martinique where we lived self-sufficiently. Since then, I have had a real connection with nature and my environment, and that is what inspires me every day.”
Respecting the seasons is essential for the Chef. A partnership has been established with “Mister Good Fish” to respect marine resources, thanks to a list of species recommended each season. For example, there is no red tuna on the menu because it is a protected species, and you won’t find any scallops in the summer. However, customers can discover scabbard fish and weever, which are still not well-known.
For many years the choice for vegetarians was extremely limited in the Principality of Monaco. However, Chef Ravin has also decided to concoct a vegetarian menu for his Blue Bay gastronomic restaurant, which is available since April 2019.
Do you plan any specials for the summer menu of Blue Bay?
“I cook according to the seasons, my finds, my market, and my garden. This is why we have created three menus, in which you will not find the same dishes all year round. As cooks, we are responsible for what we give to our customers. We are responsible for their health and well-being and this means respecting the environment and nature. I cook according to the rhythm of nature.”
Chef Ravin has also introduced a unique eat-in or take-away in Monaco, called the Mada One at the One Monte-Carlo complex. This on-the-go gastronomy features Chef Ravin’s innovative chic and varied “snackonomy” concept, which delights the taste buds at any time of the day.
You started at Mada One, do you plan to open any new restaurants in Monaco?
“It does not depend on me, but on the Société des Bains de Mer for which I work. I have other projects outside the Principality, such as restaurant concepts in Lyon or the West Indies, and consulting on projects in the Middle East. Of course, I would like to invest in Monaco as a priority if the opportunities present themselves.”
Do you cook for yourself when you are at home?
“I cook when we receive guests, otherwise my partner cooks when we are alone. She cooks the same way as I do when I receive, lovingly, and it’s wonderful.”
What would you suggest to an amateur chef, someone who just starts his or her career?
“It is important to have desires, to listen to each other, and to respect them. Above all, don’t let anyone, even in difficulties discourage you.
Some things take time, and you have to succeed in transforming moments of doubt into a motor to surpass yourself and not let yourself be polluted by negative energies.
Live your dreams!”
And by living his dream, Chef Ravin also motivates the young generation to live their own dreams and maybe one day enrich our global culinary heritage.
Chef Ravin is one of the treasures of the Principality of Monaco not only in his role as top Chef but also as a human being, staying true and authentic.