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December 2023

 Tableware for chefs, ceramics for all tastes

It’s all about the human connection: local Michelin-star chefs are entering into successful collaborations with ceramists to promote skill and expertise and produce truly original dishes. 

by Tanja Stojanov 
Une assiette de présentation ingénieuse créée par Magali Barraja pour les tables du Faventia.© DR

When we talk about a dish it can, of course, refer to both the contents and the container. “Lots of brands create beautiful crockery for high-class restaurants but often the plates are the same,” says Magali Barraja, a self-taught ceramist, who changed career during the Covid pandemic and opened a workshop in Tourrettes. “This is where I met chef Christophe Schmitt, who had just taken over at Faventia, the restaurant at the Terre Blanche resort. He had seen my creations on Instagram.” Her collaboration with the chef began in 2021 with a dozen or so prototypes, comprising 400 pieces of tableware. The collection included decorative artichokes and bud vases, a tumbler to replace the previous water glass and a clever serving plate. Out went the old-school plate, which was purely decorative; Magali’s version splits in two to become a cutlery rest and a bread plate. She has also created a blue foam glass ‘wave’ for the miniature sweet treats of Michelin-star chef Justin Schmitt at Château Eza, who has a penchant for Mediterranean cuisine. “Creating something together is an extraordinary, yet very authentic, experience,” adds Magali. “I have my world and the chefs have their own ingenious ideas. We are two artisans and artists who are coming together to keep it local.” 


A mix of materials and textures 

Odile Culas-Bonnin has designed sculptural pieces for Mauro Colagreco and his Le Mirazur restaurant in Menton. “The initial idea was to find ceramics to decorate the tables, and he liked my blue corals. They weren’t originally designed as plates but he saw ways they could be adapted,” enthuses the Callian-based ceramist. And so his baby broad bean and thyme blossom tarts found their way onto her sculptures. There is also the Franco-Dutch creator Sarah-Linda Forrer, who is inspired by the sensual shapes of seashells. She has worked with several establishments in the South of France, including Dimitri Droisneau’s La Villa Madie in Cassis and Onice, a new restaurant that is preparing to open. “I hand-shape my designs and they are then recreated in porcelain in Limoges. Hélène Darroze was one of my first clients because she was looking for a shell-shaped plate for her signature oyster dish, and the piece was already in my collection,” says the delighted ceramist, who has also designed a customised tempura serving plate for chef Yannick Alléno and the Monaco incarnation of his Pavyllon concept. These few examples of thriving collaborations and inspiration in action are creating a new, truly original take on the art of preparing and presenting food.

Tartelette aux févettes et fleurs de thym du Mirazur à Menton, présentée sur une pièce d’Odile Culas-Bonnin.
Magali Barraja a façonné cette vague à mignardises pour le Château Eza.© DR


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