Ahead of the re-opening of Monte-Carlo Beach hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant Elsa, we speak to newly appointed Head Chef Benoît Witz about his commitment to seasonal, organic produce, sustainable kitchen practices and authentic Mediterranean cuisine
1. What can we expect from Elsa when it opens this summer?
Our focus is on local products and seasonal cuisine. We are keeping the products as simple as possible to highlight their true flavours.
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2. How do you define modern Mediterranean cuisine?
I always look for simplicity. Mediterranean cuisine, to me, is a dish that shows off the natural taste of a recognisable product. We often forgot about what’s essential. My goal is to highlight our local products, and I always choose organic ones. It is necessary to show all the beautiful products we have around us thanks to Mother Nature.
3. Do you pay attention to cooking or eating trends?
I follow clients’ wishes more than trends. I am inspired by the products I can find in the markets, or in the restaurant’s fruit and vegetable garden. My cuisine’s personality is about elegance and health. I want to follow what our body needs.
4. What’s your process for creating a new recipe?
I am inspired by old cooking books. I love trying new recipes and using products that have been forgotten and mixing them with new ones. It’s something unusual for food lovers. Most of the time, it’s a success and clients love that.
5. How are you incorporating sustainability into Elsa’s kitchen?
There are a number different ways. First of all, our teams are trained to pay close attention to sustainability. We have constant discussions about how we can do more as it is very important to the wider company Monte-Carlo Societe des Bains de Mer and our property the Monte-Carlo Beach hotel. For example, we group the orders together in order to avoid waste, we ask all our providers to avoid plastic and all of the kitchen waste is sorted and organised. We also only buy local and organic produce.
6. What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
I love cooking fruit and vegetables, together or separately. I often mix them with cereals such as lentils or chick peas. Since I discovered chick pea flour, I enjoy making pancakes with vegetables. I often use artichoke or salade shavings and then add pepper, salt and herbs. I simply sauté the vegetables, which is how I prefer to cook them. It’s a very easy, filling and tasty meal to make at home. You should try it!
Find out more: montecarlosbm.com/en/restaurant-monaco/elsa