Sporting Monte-Carlo’s La Trattoria announces their new chef, Robbie Pepin, for the 2017 season.
But he’s not a newcomer—Pepin had already been the sous chef at the opening of the restaurant eight years ago. So what brought him back?
“Because the chef offered it to me,” replied Pepin. The ‘chef’ he is referring to is none other than Alain Ducasse, the celebrated, three-starred chef whose reputation has nothing more to prove. Pepin described working with Ducasse: “He’s inspiring, he makes you want to do the job, and do it right.”
“Italy is part of me”
With a staff of fifty people, a huge kitchen and a view of the sea, Robbie Pepin is complete. “I love this area, the Riviera. Everything is beautiful, and I’m not talking about food!”
The close proximity to Italy, his homeland, also plays a big role in his joy to be here. His family fled Italy during the famine and settled in Scotland. But Italy has always been a part of his life. He visited during the holidays as a child, and then lived there at the age of seven. His grandparents, owners of Italian restaurants, have passed on to him the taste and appreciation of good food.
Pepin infuses this Mediterranean spirit through the entire kitchen. The philosophy of his menu reflects the values of family, abundance and generosity. To assure his cuisine is the best possible, his first concern is the quality of the ingredients.
Three times a week, he travels to the Ventimille market to buy fresh produce. And the pasta is “home made, of course!” La Trattoria has been open since 11 May, and the summer season extends to 30 September. For now, the Italian-Scottish chef is pleased with his first month. “It’s going great,” he said. “We have good feedback from customers. Many regulars come here every night.”
Thanks to the Grand Prix, the restaurant broke its seating record; a small victory for the new chef. Yet he has no time to rest on his laurels—the season is just beginning. He concludes: “It’s going to be a busy summer.”