A Côte d’Azur Farewell Lunch

CANNES: My stay at the French Riviera is coming to an end and it was a fantastic time, a nice mix of vacationing and working. Nice Airport is a perfect base to catch daily flights to almost anywhere in the world and the Côte d’Azur has great varieties of landscape and holiday spots to stay even that long. Within an hour you can find different kinds of beaches, ways people dress and food variations and it never seems to get monotonous.

Today I will have a farewell lunch with a friend at the Carlton Beach Restaurant, which is a truly unique place. It can be completely different depending on the time of the year you are lunching there. During the Festival du Film it is packed with stars and film moguls, in August you can encounter an Arabian princess with her entourage going for a late lunch, and in September it is more calm and relaxed. The tables have more space around them, the emphasis is on the food and it is fantastic to go for a late summer swim after lunch when the sun is still warm.

I had a quick chat with chef Laurent Bunel, who makes me want to go grocery shopping immediately with him in Cannes.

What flavors inspire you in different seasons?

In summer I am inspired by tomatoes, basil and olive oil. In winter it’s chestnuts and pumpkins.

Which is your favorite summer dish at the beach restaurant?
Mozzarella di bufala, tomatoes douces à l’huile d’olive et basilic. This dish is an authentic Mediterranean dish. It is fresh and light, perfect for the summer season.

Where do you go food shopping?
I mainly go to the Forville Market which is the Provençal market where you can find the best quality products in Cannes. You can get everything: the best cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers, fish and anything else the heart desires…

How would you describe your style of cooking?
My cuisine is Mediterranean and Provençal.

What inspires you when planning a menu for a new season?
I am inspired by the seasons. I compose my menu by using local products and seasonal produce. At the Carlton Restaurant, the menu is changing every season, so you have an autumn, winter, spring and summer menu, and it is important that it reflects these changes.