MARSEILLE: Alexandre Mazzia, chef of Restaurant AM, the new three Michelin star restaurant in Marseille, France has the feeling that he has finally become a ‘cook’.
“I can hardly believe this. It is unthinkable, unimaginable and yet its true,” the French chef who has been breaking boundaries with his unique perspective on food.
A former basketball player, he opened restaurant AM in Marseille in 2014. Now, during the closure of his restaurant, he has been one of the most active and creative chefs during the pandemic opening a food truck selling his ‘jewels’ in a 24 euro lunch box. It is a project he wants to keep even when the pandemic is over.
“As a child, my school report used to read ‘a dreamy pupil’ or ‘can do better’. But this never weakened my quest to create an identity for myself. I tried not to please everyone and instead focused on a more personal approach, focusing on learning about my territory, to understand the raw material and also to learn to appreciate myself” the French chef said on his Facebook page. “To do this, I took different routes from practicing high-level sports (he was a basketball player) to getting a science degree.
Alexandre, who was born and raised in Congo until he was 15 years preserves the memories from his time there and this is what makes his cuisine so different and unique.
He travelled the world but fell in love twice in Marseille, first with his wife Anne “without whom i would not be here today” and then with the energy of what he describes as a unique and incredible city. “No path was mapped out in advance. At AM, no one knows exactly what they will taste when they arrive. For me, whatever the destination, the most important thing is the journey. Live and breath, here and now.”
The French chef said that now that he has finally become a ‘cook’ he feels immense pride because he now knows that it is not just him who things that the team around him is exceptional, humble, selfless, passionate and talented. “Starting from Marco Altenburger, the restaurant’s other AM.”
Alexandre thanked the Michelin Guide who had the audacity to award an experience that does not fit into the norm. “The Michelin Guide has certain codes and they have awarded a restaurant that does not follow any of them. I only follow my instinct. The three stars are also a way to apologise to my family who tell me I work too much. This star is one more light to illuminate Marseille,” the French chef said.
Michelin said that the chef’s unique and cross-cultural cuisine, with a kaleidoscope of flavours bringing together produce and influences from across the world are being recognised with a third Star.
Two restaurants received 2 stars when Michelin launched the guide for France on Monday. These are Marsan led by Helene Darroze and La Merise run by Cedric Deckert. Another 54 restaurants received 1 Michelin star, 12 of which in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region.
33 more restaurants received the Micheiin Green star for their work on sustainability.
Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of Michelin Guides said 2020 was a particularly challenging and difficult year for restaurant owners. “However they welcomed diners whenever they could, and customers responded eagerly, demonstrating their deep fondness for fine cuisine. For us it was important to honour our longstanding commitment to diners and chefs by publishing our 2021 selection of restaurants.”