Following the profound transition between Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco and her and her three-Michelin star restaurant Mirage, the idea for the documentary “Reinventing Mirage” began in faraway Japan, where she met French filmmakers Frank Ribiere and Veran Frediani when she participated. Organized by Restaurant UG Shimoyama.
Kolagreco Shimoyamar included 322 chefs from around the world to show their cooking skills in Japan, on one condition, using only Japanese products. The idea was to make a short film but it expanded into a feature-length format when Colagreco invited them to his restaurant in France to continue their shooting. Shimoyama, who appeared in the documentary, is also one of the producers. “It was a one-time event, it was very difficult to organize,” he claimed.
Ribeiar and Frediani Mirajure began filming Kolagreco then the epidemic hit and like life, the documentary is a new, unexpected and in many ways, the filmmakers witness the crisis of Kolagreco’s existence and the decision to completely rebuild its restaurant.
“At one point, I thought he’d give it up altogether,” said Ribeiro, who said they shot for about a year and collected about 160 hours daily.
Like many institutions in the rest of France, Mirajur was forced to shut down for a few months but became more beautiful, like a butterfly from a cocoon, despite facing countless challenges.
Spending almost all of his days in his sprawling vegetable and flower garden during the forced break, Kolagreco made some revolutionary decisions to introduce the menu with the moon cycle. Since he collected all the fresh produce of the restaurant from his garden, where it was time to plant and harvest according to the lunar cycle, the menus would change radically. Colagreco and his team wrote about 32 new dishes in the three weeks before reopening. He dropped all the signature dishes that brought Miraju world fame and was selected as number one in the list of 50 best restaurants in Reed Media World in 2019-2019. Following the lunar calendar means changing the menu four times a week.
Talking to Diversity Colagreco laughed at a dinner at the Basque Culinary Center held in his honor after the world premiere of Docu in San Sebastian when he asked if he liked to complicate his life. “Yes, in reality, we now have four different restaurants,” he said, “but there’s nothing better than this in terms of experience and innovation; it’s more poetic, it’s a return to nature.”
Spending hours in his garden during the lockdown has forced him to reconsider his priorities and spend more time for nature, for his family, Kolagreco said at the 1:00 press conference after the mala-course dinner. “We are unbalanced as a society and as individuals, the challenge is to find that balance.”
Speaking about the filming experience, Ribiere said: “You see all this chaos in the kitchen and beyond that, there is a moment of clarity and then this beautiful dish comes out.” “They work every day from 2am to 2pm and at the end of every day the kitchen is spotless,” he said.
“We feared that the Covid-1 angle would dominate the documentary but it was more about the life of Kolagreco, his journey as a man,” said Los Angeles-based producer Thomas Augsberger, who recently launched a new documentary section, ERM Docs, in Eden. Rock Media label whose first title was “Rediscovering Mirajur.”
Augsburger contacted two sources willing to finance the production of a film at the onset of the global epidemic: Swiss investor Santis Media Distribution and US-based Front Burner, owned and operated partners Schuller Ransohoff and Wes Fluchaus. “We thought it was going to be a short one, so it was a happy turn of events when it turned into a feature-length documentary,” Fluchaus said.
Despite the travel demand that now arises from the ownership of many restaurants in the world. Colagreco is sure of one thing. “I just refuse to be a manager, I never want to stop cooking,” he said.