Pink Ribbon Monaco

Many years ago, Natasha Frost-Savio took part in a Pink Ribbon awareness walk in LA. “This was way more than a pretty stroll in pink clothes,” she says. “It was a day of women’s empowerment, women supporting women and joyful sisterhood.”

Natasha decided then and there to bring “some of that positive vibe” back to her beloved Monaco. Since she set up Pink Ribbon Monaco back in 2011, the non-profit’s annual 5km Pink Ribbon Port-to-Palace walk (this year on February 12) has become one of the biggest events for the community with participation over the years from Prince Albert and government officials. Pink Ribbon Monaco importantly included English-language and actions, to involve the British and anglophone community.

As it strives to promote early detection and awareness, it is also the first association in the region to celebrate Pink October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month – and to illuminate buildings in the Principality in pink. In close collaboration with the Prince’s government, the National Council, the Ministry of Health and Social Services and in partnership with the Princess Grace Hospital Centre, Pink Ribbon Monaco has been promoting awareness, health and solidarity for more than a decade.

Natasha’s tireless campaigning effort was recognised on National Day last year when she was knighted the Order of Saint Charles by Prince Albert on November 17, 2022, for her services to the State.

Never one rest on her laurels, Anglo-American Natasha is organising Pink Ribbon Monaco’s first gala and charity auction on February 10 to raise funds for a scientific study of new screening methods for lobular breast cancer at the Princess Grace Hospital Centre. The “Dare to Bear” event at the Hotel Hermitage’s Salle Belle Epoque will include special guest American actor of TV’s ER fame Noah Wyle, who recently had a relative diagnosed with breast cancer, will also participate in the Pink Ribbon Walk on February 12.

Playing on the double meaning of the English word bare and bear, Pink Ribbon Monaco hopes to de-dramatize breast cancer screening,” explains Natasha. “Dare To Bear – bare your breasts – is a pun encouraging women to get routine screenings. By replacing bare with bear, a familiar and beloved object becomes the rallying call of all women, encouraging them to arrange a screening appointment.”

The February 10 charity auction will include a variety of lots, ranging from five photo prints and rare Technicolour 35mm slides from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window of Grace Kelly and James Stewart to unique experiences, including VIP terrace access for the Sunday of the Monaco Grand Prix.

“The Hitchcock film elements are sections of dye transfer prints that Technicolor Hollywood produced for James Katz and Robert Harris in the 1990s,” describes Natasha, whose father was an American film producer with United Artists then VP at Universal before founding and heading the Classics Division (he worked with the Beatles, Bowie, Scorsese, Kubrick and Mohamed Ali).

“These original camera negatives of cinematographic history were inter-positively duplicated from the deteriorated original prints to create a ‘duplicated negative’, fully restoring Hitchcock’s original masterpieces.”

Also up for auction: Two exclusive passes for the Hotel Hermitage’s Midi Terrace VIP Formula One all-inclusive package for Sunday race day, an FB AURA Patriot tourbillon watch, an XL Dare to Bear sculpture donated by Segraeti, a bespoke pink quartz and diamond ring by VITALE 1913, a Momma’s Blues custom-made Pink Ribbon jacket, a sitting with artist Toby Wright for a charcoal portrait and two donations by J&T Concierge Monaco – a limited edition Mont Blanc Grace Kelly pen and (TBC) two nights for two in a luxury hotel in London along with a donation from Aero for two one-way tickets on a semi-private jet.

“You can buy tickets for our Dare to Bear gala online until February 8th,” says Natasha, “but to purchase on the 9th and 10th, you’ll need to contact Pink Ribbon directly.”

Artwork by @graphicanissarda

All images courtesy of Natasha Frost-Savio.

PinkWave Monaco

PinkWave Monaco sailing team. Photo: Martin Messmer

PinkWave Monaco was founded in March 2019 by what member Femke Doeksen describes as “a bunch of crazy Dutch-speaking women”. As the Monaco resident explains, “Like nowadays, there was hardly any female participation at the annual Primo Cup. Out of fifty or sixty participating teams, only two were female. So, the conclusion was that if their sailing boat could make it from Start to Finish, they would automatically end up on the podium in the Ladies’ ranking.”

Initiated by the energetic Anne Schouten, PinkWave Monaco was born. Today the sailing team consists of 45 women ages 24 to 76 ranging in levels from absolute beginner to high-profile regatta expert. And typical of Monaco, members come from all different backgrounds and nationalities.

British Olympic gold medallist Saskia Clark moved to the Principality last year and has been racing regularly since then. Saskia is supporting the PinkWave idea as an outstanding initiative for Monaco and the efforts to create a solid team to get more women racing regularly. “She is positive that she can guide the decision-making process during the racing and support PinkWave in developing its strong team,” says Anne.

From March 25 to 26, 2023, the Monaco Yacht Club will host their first-ever Ladies Sailing Cup. “PinkWave is not only about being a female sailing team amongst the highly successful predominately male Monaco crews. It’s also a statement we wanted to make, that everything, no matter which age or level, is possible if you keep on pursuing a dream. Needless to say, we are looking tremendously forward to such an event at our club,” Anne enthuses.

PinkWave member Kathrin Hoyos recently bought a pre-owned J/70, to be more independent and to be able to take part in regattas at the team’s discretion. This is the only female-owned J/70 on the YCM. “Hopefully, there are many more to come. The level of sailing on the Monaco Sportsboat Winter series organised by the Monaco Yacht Club is highly competitive and entirely dominated by professional male sailors. Most J/70 sailors of the PinkWave team are between 30 and 60 years, and most of us are, yet, far away from performing on a highly professional level. Our focus is less on the final results at the end of the races but more on the progress of adapting to the conditions and, most importantly, on succeeding as a team. The motto of Pink Wave remains: Progress, Fun, and Freedom.”

PinkWave Monaco competes in a wide range of regattas and various social activities already in the Monaco Yacht Club (YCM). In 2022, PinkWave participated for the first time at the regatta “Dames des Saint Tropez” with the YCM Flagship TUIGA. Much of TUIGA’s crew consists of PinkWave ladies, participating in an entire circuit of Classical Sailing regattas.

At the J/70 World Championships, which took place last October 14-22 at the Yacht Club Monaco, PinkWave Monaco had one boat at the start helmed by Anne Rodelato. “Three years of preparation went into this,” shares Kathrin. “The team ended up ranking first amongst the Ladies’ Teams. One of our PinkWave members, Axelle Foucaud, is on the Monaco team that became Vice-World Champions.”

Additionally, each year several PinkWave members participate in the Monaco Sportboat Winter Series and for two years in a row, PinkWave Monaco has participated in the Helga Cup in Hamburg, the biggest Women’s regatta in the world.

“Worldwide, the number of female sailors and female regattas is increasing rapidly. Only a handful of European countries organised Ladies-only Regattas two years ago. Since then, this number has more than doubled. The world’s biggest annual women-only regatta in Germany hosts over 70 teams – some 300 women. In France, the Ladies’ Sailing Circuit consists of seven races,” Anne says.

She adds, “Although we are quite competitive, our main objective remains to have fun, the love of sailing and after-sailing. We show constant perseverance, believe in ourselves and support amongst each other. Solidarity amongst women overcomes the harshest criticism by men. All in all, we are always considered the underdogs or outsiders, which pushes us to be the best version of ourselves on water and land.”

PinkWave believes supporting women in sport is essential. “We connect and reach out to other female sailors worldwide – so easy via social media – and we actively maintain dialogues with like-minded women worldwide, striving to create a true movement of support and understanding and an environment which feels safe and non-judgmental”

In addition to the 2023 sailing calendar (see “PinkWave 2023” below) an upcoming highlight of the year will be the participation of PinkWave in the “Lady Liberty Regatta” in New York from September 8 to 9 on J/24 class, an 8 m long boat with a crew of five. The race is organised by the Manhattan Yacht Club. “A dream coming true,” reveals Anne. “A Monaco women’s only team with a huge Monaco flag on the spinnaker sailing racing around the Statue of Liberty. We are very excited that we were invited to this extraordinary event and look forward to representing the spirit of the women of the Principality of Monaco with pride.”

Want to support PinkWave? “Spread the word,” says Anne. “We are also open to accepting sponsorships to support us in pursuing our various activities and participation with regattas.

“Sailing is a very cool sport, hugely beneficial physically and mentally, and accessible right here in the Principality. Those interested are invited to contact the Section Sportive of the Yacht Club Monaco or at pinkwave@monaco.mc. We are looking forward to welcoming more female sailors within the Principality!”

PinkWave Calendar 2023

Over the past two years, PinkWave Monaco (PWM) has built strong bonds with female sailors from Germany, Holland, Belgium, the UK, the US, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Brazil, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Dubai. From March 25-26, the YCM will organise its first Ladies’ Sailing Regatta. Several PinkWave Monaco members will take part in 2023 in the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, which always ends with the famous Credit Suisse Primo Cup on the first weekend in March.

After the success of 2022, PinkWave Monaco will again participate in May in the Dames de St Tropez regatta, hopefully with two ships and 30 female sailors in total. As in the last three years, PWM will participate in the Helga Cup in Hamburg and possibly at some of the French Female Regattas organized by the Federation Francais de Voile. PinkWave members will again join in the Mediterranean Classical Regatta circuit, such as Les Voiles d’Antibes, Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, and other famous regattas like the Palermo-Monte Carlo, the Rolex Giraglia or the SNIM in Marseille. “The advantage of the diversity and the spread of our team is that in any given race in the Mediterranean, most of the time there is a PinkWave member participating!” says Anne Schouten.

Victoria Morris

Victoria Morris with “the most adorable German Shepherd”, 7-year-old Ziggy. “When I was called in to work with him as a young adolescent dog, he was highly reactive, would have intense reactions to dogs passing by and his general obedience needed much work. There must be participation from both owner and trainer to make a meaningful change and to see how happy, confident and well-adjusted Ziggy is now is just the best!”

Tis the season when parents think about putting a pet under the family Christmas tree.

For animal behaviourist and trainer Victoria Morris: “Often, we can get caught up in the excitement of getting a pet that we sometimes forget to be realistic. A pet is not only for Christmas but is your companion and dear family member for a very long time.”

READ Victoria Morris’ 20 helpful questions to ask before owning a pet.

With over 20 years’ experience, Victoria, who is based just outside Monaco, always knew she wanted to work with animals. “As a child, I was mesmerised when travelling if there were animals there, for example at Dolphin Quest in Honolulu, I stood there for hours just watching and observing the trainers. I would ask them lots of questions and was decided from the age of 12 that my career path would be with animals.”

From that moment on, researched the field of Animal Behaviour, Animal Behaviour Management and Training and worked hard to build her career starting with jobs in zoos and aquaria, working with Humboldt penguins, Harbour seals, snakes, guillemots, Patagonian sea lions, Moluccan cockatoos, pelicans and Bottlenose dolphins. 

She launched her Pet Behaviour and Training Consultancy in 2005 in the UK and has been working closely with vets and other professionals in the field since, including with the Animal Care College in Ascot. She says transferring her business to France was a natural decision. “Having already had experience living a European lifestyle in Spain from an early age, I understood and really came to appreciate all the lovely aspects to everyday life that brings. Also, my parents were living in France.”

She admits, “Working in this part of the world is quite different to that of my consulting in Essex years ago when I had my consultancy there. Many of the pets I work with here have very different lives and routines. Many owners travel with their pets frequently, so I am often helping owners to train and desensitise their pets to travel including air travel, car and boat travel.”

Working with a team within a household who care for her clients’ pets is normal. “As a result, consistency is very important in terms of training and behavioural treatment, so this takes a very specific approach in order to successfully attain. Essentially what I do is very bespoke and requires tailoring my programs to my clients and pets needs according to their individual routines and situations.”

In addition to looking after the mental and physical well-being of the pets in terms of behaviour, Victoria – who has published articles in Dogs Monthly and been on radio – is also involved in making sure all veterinary care for her clients’ pets is provided and up-to-date so both owner and pet are ready to travel.

“There are certain veterinary treatments that are specific to areas my clients travel to and here in France, so I advise on this from my knowledge so far and from the great veterinary professionals I work with. I am also often engaged in travelling with my clients’ pets and bringing them to my clients who may have travelled ahead of time so I can be occupied with their safe travel and look after any behavioural needs.”

Victoria is often involved in helping owners choose the correct pet for them. “I will help them prepare for a pet’s arrival to the home – having the correct beds, bowls and training aids – so we can start in the best possible way, therefore decreasing any potential stress that pet may experience but also getting training routines established early on and making sure the pet concerned adapts well to its new home.”

In some cases, Victoria, who has a Combined Honours Degree in Animal Behaviour from Anglia Ruskin University, can recommend breeders and will also accompany clients to visit their chosen breeders or in some cases rescue homes or people who may be looking for adoptive homes for their pets. “I have a wonderful team of professionals I work with in various different fields from osteopathy, general veterinary care, hydrotherapy, massage etc and work with the best quality groomers, eye specialists and skin specialists and work on referral from these specialists.”

Victoria takes her responsibility as an animal trainer/pet behaviour counsellor seriously and is dedicated to continuing her professional education. She is a member of the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants and subscribes to many pet behaviour journals, such as the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (which she is also a member) and is an accredited member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers in the UK whereby she abides by a strict set code of ethics. “I do not use choke chains, half choke chains, prong collars or any anti bark systems – systems based around aversive stimulus – that are available and employed by other ‘trainers or professionals’ as these are ethically questionable and are ineffective.”

Her clients are offered a high-end service with attention to detail. “I provide one-to-one behavioural consultations at my client’s home, dog training tours/residential training, group classes in obedience, agility, dog dancing, Pet Aid Training – training pets to aid owners with limited mobility, Dog Training Days and Group Dog Training Holidays. 

Working with a wide variety of breeds, she assures, “Yes, all breeds can be trained but the trainer does need to be aware of the breeds genetic predisposition and to be aware of that breeds specific needs, however many people do use this as a limiting factor. What I mean by this is that people have a preconception that certain breeds are a certain way, and it becomes a self for-filling prophecy and no effort is made to shape good behaviour to avoid those unwanted behaviours.”

“Many people come to me with issues with fear-based behaviour, house soiling issues, aggression, separation anxiety, stereotyped behaviour and general handling and obedience issues.” Not all behavioural problems can be completely solved. “You can’t give someone a guarantee. It depends very much on the effort and dedication of an owner to commit to working with a behavioural problem, as well as several other factors including how conditioned and ingrained unwanted behaviour has become, the individual pet itself, its behavioural history, the severity of the behavioural problem and how effectively behaviour can be managed. Having said this, with appropriate training and management huge improvements can be attained with behavioural issues and problems and many of these issues can be solved.”

She has witnessed the many emotions that come up for an owner during the process of behavioural treatment. “It’s not always easy for an owner to work with a behavioural problem that they are experiencing with a pet. There are many family dynamics and couple dynamics involved, as well as the individual psychology of an owner which means as a pet behaviour counsellor you need to have good skills with people, you need to be able to listen and really understand what is going on in a household. 

“It often means people must admit where the management of their pet may be going wrong and how they are contributing to problems, how their responses to certain situations and behaviours are increasing the rate of undesirable behaviour. I have to be there to support my clients and am very dedicated to being there for them and their pets.”

She states the most common mistake clients can make is to anthropomorphise their pet. “They love their pets but sometimes too much, they forget to create boundaries and nurture discipline which pets need to feel psychologically secure. Enrichment and socialisation is also very much underestimated in terms of its positive effect on behaviour management.”

Victoria works on referral from veterinary surgeons and from recommendation treating a wide range of behavioural problems and training issues. “I work with dog aggression, separation anxiety, house soiling issues and much more. I also work with veterinary professionals and groomers when there are issues with handling. I work with both clients and their pets to desensitise their pet to handling/veterinary procedures, therefore decreasing stress for both owner, pet and veterinary professional/groomer etc. This is something that my experience working with marine mammals and exotic animals has well prepared me for and given me great experience in, as this is an extremely important part of animal husbandry.”

“The focus with the kayak is to introduce the dogs to a wide range of experiences and situations. It’s all about socialisation and developing confidence, obedience skills and enabling the dogs to develop into well-adjusted dogs that can handle changing environments and of course have fun socialising and swimming,” says Victoria.

As a trainer, she says you never stop learning and experience provides you with so much. “You have to have a presence with the animal you are working with, you have to understand an animal, its environment, its history, its diet and genetic predispositions but patience and kindness is of paramount importance which is why I abide by a strict code of ethics. 

Many people think that training marine mammals is very different to that of training a dog but the methods of training are the same applied according to that animal’s physical abilities and the modern training approaches employed with companion animals today originated in many cases with marine mammal training and the training of exotic species.”

Beyond dogs, Victoria has worked with Moluccan cockatoos, macaws, bottlenose dolphins, Patagonian sea lions, harbour seals, Burmese pythons, Humboldt penguins, pelicans, dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and goats. “People are now realising they can clicker train their cat, rabbit and horse and the wonderful benefits of doing so.”

Sexy Tacos

Pepe Olivares and Paty Cortijo opened Sexy Tacos in 2016. Photo: Nancy Heslin. Food photos: Sexy Tacos.

BREAKING NEWS: Sexy Taco opens second location at Larvotto Beach on November 30, 2022.

On December 8, Monaco celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the day that the Blessed Mother Mary (not Jesus) was conceived and preserved from original sin all of her life.

Another Mary celebration will take place later this week. December 12 has been the national holiday in Mexico of Our Lady of Guadalupe since 1859. The date marks the story of the Virgin Mary who appeared to an indigenous Mexican, a peasant named Juan Diego, and twice asked him to build her a house on a hill. When he reported the story to the disbelieving local bishop, he was asked for proof of these apparitions.

Early on the morning of December 12, 1531, the dark-skinned lady appeared once more to ask Juan Diego to gather flowers at the top of the hill. This time he did as asked and discovered Castilian roses, typically not in season. The lady helped him arrange the flowers in his cloak, which he then presented as evidence. When the bishop opened the cloak, the roses fell out leaving a life-size image of the Virgin Mary on the inside. This icon became known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico.

According to John Moran Gonzalez, director of the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin told NBC, Our Lady of Guadalupe has become less of a religious symbol and more of a general cultural symbol: “Our Lady is seen as the champion of the underdog, of the Indian, of all those who lack power in society.”

For chef Pepe Olivares, this makes December 12 fête doubly significant, as it is also the day he opened his Mexican restaurant in Monaco in 2016.

“It was a coincidence but I believe it was a sign,” says Pepe, who will celebrate four years since the opening of Sexy Tacos this Saturday.

At age 29, Pepe left Puebla, his hometown southeast of Mexico City and known for its culinary history, to follow his passion for French cooking and discover new horizons.

He first went to Toronto, Canada – “a beautiful country but it is too cold – but left to thaw out in the warmer climate of Cancun, Mexico, where he stayed for a year.

In 2010, his plans to “learn everything about French culture and cuisine” got back on track when he moved to Cannes to study the language for a year. He also spent the next six years working in various kitchens, starting with Michelin star chef Marc Meneau in Burgundy and finishing at Nobu at the Fairmont Monte Carlo with Nobuyuki Matsuhisa.

“I worked at the Fairmont for five years and Nobu was like nothing else in Monaco. Watching how the Japanese culture operates, with its innovation and intelligence … there is no waste in the kitchen, anything left over is used for another recipe.”

His years at the Fairmont helped him adapt his “savoir faire à ma façon” to appeal to Europeans. “I learned something from every place I have worked, even from my job at Starbucks, during my studies in Cannes. I was impressed by service and the way you had to treat customers. Howard Schultz personalised coffee for everyone, and I knew I wanted to personalise my own restaurant.”

Encouraged by his French wife, Paty Cortijo, Pepe opened Sexy Tacos at 2 boulevard du Tenaoon on December 12, 2016.

“Every time I travelled, I tried to find Mexican food because I really missed it. But all I found was chili con carne and fajitas, which are not Mexican. So this was an opportunity to share not just my food, real Mexican dishes but also cocktails and music to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. In our culture, when you have guests in your home, you do everything to make sure they are looked after and having a good time.”

Pepe has a different concept of what French people like. “In France, people are not used to eating with their fingers, and they use utensils even for pizza and hamburgers. In Mexico, we never use utensils for eating tacos and to be able to eat a taco well is sexy. There is a certain aesthetic, to eat without breaking the shell or have juice dripping down your chin. So we called the place Sexy Tacos.”

For six months, Pepe worked at Nobu and ran his restaurant for lunch service and also on his days off. “It was exhausting but it allowed me to see how the business would work. It is not the best location, but it let me know that people wanted this type of food.” The time came to focus solely on his restaurant.

Paty managed the restaurant (she still does the accounts) while Pepe cooked recipes passed down from his mother and grandmother, serving every dish à la minute. “Tacos are meant to be eaten straight away.” After three months, as word spread about the country’s only authentic Mexican food, they had to hire an extra person. Now he has three employees, having to let one person go due to Covid.

“Confinement was a disaster for us, as some of our products come from Mexico and it was complicated. We had to close for two and a half months and financially we were lost. Fortunately, the government offered some assistance but if we were in France, we would have had to close,” says Pepe who speaks Spanish, French and English (and is learning Italian).

He thought about shutting down and only offering delivery but as the pandemic continues, Pepe is concentrating on his restaurant and take away service. “We used to serve 40 people over two services and although now we have less, we have lots of people ordering takeaway. Everyone is happy.”

The menu features wheat tortillas and meat and vegetarian options, including veggie nachos hechos en casa (€15), chicken tostados (€17.50) and Taco de Cochinita Pibil – marinated pork, guacamole, corn tortilla, salad, habanero onion (€18.50). Or just go for it: Mole Poblano, a corn tortilla with chicken, lightly spiced chocolate sauce (€22).

Pepe admits he “really happy” to be in Monaco. “The French are not close to my culture, but I have been able to meet diverse people, which I like, so it feels like home.”

He also wanted to bring up his daughters in a safe and clean place. “It’s the same weather here as Mexico but we have the sea and mountains and … Europe! It’s hard to be away from my family and I miss them, especially as they couldn’t visit this summer to meet my new baby. But this is my place.”

À BOIRE? Sexy Tacos serves mostly Mexican wine (there are two French labels for sticklers) and, of course, tequila and mezcal. “Mexicans are drinking artisanal mezcal at the moment, served with grasshopper salt – that’s grilled grasshopper with salt, dried chile and lemon – and a slice of orange.” Whereas tequila can only be made with blue agave and produced in the Mexican state of Jalisco (and in some municipalities in Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas), the smoky mezcal is made from some 30 varieties of agave.

Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11:30 am to 2 pm &  6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Delivery available through Mr Room Service.

Sexy Tacos
2 Boulevard du Tenao

Article first published December 8, 2020. Do you have a business or service to recommend for I ❤︎  MONACO? Email: GoodNewsMonaco

End of an era: Stars’N’Bars to close its doors forever

Stars’N’Bars cofounders Didier Rubiolo and Kate Powers. Photo: Nancy Heslin

In my last interview with Kate Powers, in November 2020, the late cofounder of Stars’N’Bars told me, “Lockdown helped us to wake up to necessary ecological changes that were more important than economical ones. Stars’N’Bars is only getting started on their ecological journey.”

Although at the time she could not reveal details about the vision she and cofounder Didier Rubiolo had planned, she did say, “We realise how much people don’t like change but if we want to make a difference, we must change our habits. The planet can do without us but we can’t do without the planet. There will big changes in spring 2021.”

Kate’s death in August 2021 overshadowed the transformation of Stars’N’Bars but now it is official that Monaco’s go-to family-friendly restaurant for nearly 30 years – where Prince once played a secret concert, where Michael Schumacher drank victory beers with his racing team and where Prince Albert and his daughter Jazmin Grace took part in the annual Quiz Night – will close its doors permanently on January 27.

“It has been an honour to serve millions of guests from all over the world and we especially want to thank the Monaco community for its amazing support,” expresses Didier, who started

Stars’N’Bars with Kate back in ’93 to provide regular people beyond the jet-setters “reasonably priced and quality dining outside the home.” The pair converted an abandoned warehouse into what is today an 1800-square-metre hospitality centre with over half a million customers served every year.

A classically-trained chef with experience in gastronomic restaurants in France and Monaco, Didier first met Kate at her family-run “Le Texan”, the first Tex-Mex restaurant in Monaco and a favourite of Prince Rainier (who gave it the name). Didier went on to revolutionise Monaco’s dining scene by upgrading American Tex-Mex fare at Stars’N’Bars to eventually incorporating an international selection of Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. Kate may have been more in the public eye over the years, but it was Didier who drove “the restaurant’s shift towards vegetarian and vegan options.

“When Kate and I opened Stars’N’Bars we wanted to give Monaco something new, original and exciting.” Didier recalls. “Our concept was a great success but eventually we realized that we wanted to make a bigger difference in the wellbeing of our community and the planet, especially for our children.”

Stars’N’Bars began developing a “healthier dining experience” and supporting Prince Albert’s environmental protection efforts, including adopting renewable energy sources, finding new ways to reducing waste and creating the first Monaco-based urban vegetable garden as a source of fresh produce and seasonings for restaurant use.

Didier Rubiolo on 2021 World Clean Up Day distributing pocket ashtrays. Photo: Instagram starsnbarsmc

Kate and Didier joined other eco-conscious activists in Monaco to create MONACOLOGY, the week-long educational experience every June to help school children learn how to respect their planet. “We all need to accept that climate change threatens the planet and our children’s lives. Kate and I decided that we wanted to raise conscientiousness about that threat and help the community find solutions,” Didier highlights.

The avid cyclist adds, “It will be sad to say goodbye to Stars’N’Bars after 30 years but it’s time to create something even more special. We will be releasing details of a new project soon and we can’t wait to take the next step!”

Didier, Annette Anderson and the Stars’N’Bars team plan to make the most of the next two months by hosting special animations along with reintroducing popular “nostalgia” blast-from the-past dishes that are not on the current menu. Their social media feed will include throwback images and videos from “unforgettable events over the last three decades, including Halloween, the Fourth of July, Grand Prix, a concert by Prince and surprise visits by international celebrities.”

Kate Powers and Annette Anderson celebrating Fourth of July.. Photo: Instagram starsnbarsmc

And you, the much-loved community who have helped make Stars’N’Bars the institution it has become, will be invited to post your favourite Stars’N’Bars memory to help create a permanent online “living history” of the restaurant. Photo opportunities will be staged for those who want to be “immortalised” as part of the famous restaurant décor and atmosphere before it disappears forever in January.

“Everyone wants to know about our new next step but we really want to focus the last two months of Stars’N’Bars on celebrating 30 years of amazing memories with our customers and staff,” shares Annette.

Stars’N’Bars has always been there for us. Let’s be there for them until January 27 when the doors close for the last time. As Kate always said, “Do what you love. Love what you do. And make a difference.”

Photo: Annette Anderson

Green Coffee Monaco

Carina Luis Y Prado, Managing Director of Green Coffee Monaco.

Born in the largest coffee producing region in the world, it is no wonder Carina Luis Y Prado was attracted to work in the industry.

The Managing Director of Green Coffee Monaco was educated in the US and Europe and moved to Monaco in 2013. “I came to here to expose my children to this very International environment and also with the idea of exploring business opportunities. Obviously being of South American heritage, I have been exposed to coffee from an early age and have always had a passion for good coffee, as has my family,” says Carina Luis Y Prado.

The startup Green Coffee Monaco began with the idea of “an environmentally-friendly, high-quality coffee experience that was both organic and affordable.” To achieve this, the company focused on three main areas: first, they had to use organic coffee beans, mainly from South America, grown and collected using natural processes without any added chemicals. Second, the packaging materials and sealing processes, such as using biodegradable/compostable capsules, had to be environmentally friendly. And third, artificial flavour enhancers and preservatives had to be avoided in the production process.

“The quality of the beans is essential to obtain the best coffee result,” explains Carla. “This is why we only work with coffees classified as organic grands cru, fair-trade certified and harvested by hand for a selection of quality beans. Most of our products come from South America – Brazil, Guatemala and Colombia.”

The global coffee capsule market is competitive. According to a ResearchAndMarkets.com report, the market accounted for $8,327.19 million in 2019 and is expected to hit $14,062.20 million by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate of 7.0%.

The findings also showed that “the benefit of consuming coffee capsule is that the vacuum packing ensures hygiene and prevents external agents, such as oxygen, humidity, and heat, from entering inside.”

In 2018, according to British coffee capsule maker Halo, more than 400 Nespresso coffees were consumed every second but only 30% of their 12 billion capsules were recycled. (A 2020 Channel 4 documentary exposed the coffee giant to child labour at farms.)

Carina reveals, “There are 56 billion coffee capsules produced every year in the world and the material chosen is aluminium and plastic, materials which require 500 years to be absorbed. This represents a tremendous environmental impact on our planet with no sign of slowing any time soon.”

“On the other hand, the capsules from Green Coffee Monaco are 100% biodegradable and compostable, requiring only a few weeks to decompose naturally, with no additional process required, just throw them away and they decompose by themselves.”

Green Coffee Monaco uses a top-of-the-line organic grand cru selection of coffees and uses no added preservatives or flavour enhancers. And their coffee is cheaper than aluminium or plastic capsules – for a box of 10 capsules, Green Coffee Ristretto sells for €3.50 versus Nespresso Ristretto at €3.70.

“Conventional coffee is among the most heavily chemically treated foods in the world,” Carina states. “In the case of organic coffee, which accounts for 6.6% of the total world harvested coffee, there are no synthetic fertilizers or chemicals in growing or producing the coffee beans, which means cleaner beans, air, land and water. In other words, en fin, un café ecolo.”

In addition to 8 varieties of organic roasted coffee in biodegradable capsules, Green Coffee Monaco also sells 8 varieties of organic roasted coffee beans and ground coffee, which can be found in Monaco at Casino in the Port, La Vie Claire, Marché U, Spar Metropole, Carrefour City in Millefiori and, from April, Carrefour Monaco in Fontvieille, and at their “Capsule” boutique at CAP3000. You’ll also find their other products, such as organic green coffee beans for medicinal purposes and organic tea.

“We have also created a first of its kind product line of ‘fruit infusions with green coffee beans,’ a delicious hot drink preparation to replace tea,” announces Carina, adding, “Our immediate future plans target also the production of other beverages based on green coffee beans, such as our first ICE D-Tox beverage – a booster/detox beverage made with green coffee beans, lime, mint and other natural ingredients. We plan to produce several more flavours in the near future.”

Also available through their website are various GCM coffee machines for professional, office and home use.

“Of course, we have been impacted very much by Covid restrictions, like any other business, but especially our clients in the hotel and restaurant industry,” Carina shares.

“This is why we have invested in our website to reach our customers in this region directly but also anywhere in Europe. We strongly believe in our products and the contribution that we can make towards a cleaner environment while enjoying a high-quality coffee experience.”

Article first published February 27, 2021.. Do you have a business or service to recommend for I ❤︎  MONACO? Email: GoodNewsMonaco

Caro Cuinet Wellings

Photo: Garderes & Dohmen

Caro Cuinet Wellings grew up in a small village near Aix-en-Provence but from a young age knew that she would travel, live abroad and speak English. “And that is what I did. During my LLCE degree at the Université de Lettres of Aix en Provence, I came across a poster advertising a Post Graduate Certificate of Education. That led me to St. Martin’s University in Lancaster to be a secondary school teacher, teaching French as a foreign language. I began that career in August 2000 in Kenya.” By 2009, she was teaching at the International School in Dubai, married and welcoming her first daughter.

“Teaching filled my life, it really did,” Caro says, “and I was a good at it. But when the possibility of moving to Malaysia came up, I decided to explore a new path for myself and stepped away from my 12-year career in education. The move to Kuala Lumpur was tough as I embarked on setting up a photography business, with little knowledge of how to run one, barely the skills to take photos and without the support of friends there.”

After the birth of her second daughter in March 2014, Caro suffered post-natal depression. “We spent six years in Kuala Lumpur, it is a place paved by fabulous friendships, fantastic trips, even better food, but also big heartaches, discoveries and great courage.” The family relocated to France in 2018 and Caro describes it as “perhaps the hardest move I have ever had to make. To put it simply, I felt like an expat in my home country.”

She focused on the teaching and coaching side of her photography business. Fast forward four years, she runs two workshops a year on creativity, light and building a visual identity as a photographer. Her online course on the Empara platform has motivated family photographers and somehow the mom of two has found time to develop a one-on-one coaching program. This is all in addition to her group mentoring day, where photographers can experience everything from pre-shoot to photo delivery.

Photo: Caro Cuinet Wellings

“My scope has grown. I shoot families in their homes but have loved taking lifestyle photos of private chefs and maison d’hôtes. I also photograph clothing collections working as part of a team with an agency in Barcelona and work with big education companies for their marketing materials.”

Caro says “our potential for learning is bottomless” and that anyone can develop a photographer’s eye. “I believe in having a vocabulary to help name what we see, so we can understand how elements of a scene work together. No need for a fancy camera to be able to do this, as our eyes are really the key – observing, taking the time to see, to name and to put things together.”

The Biot-based artist knows what she is talking about. Caro’s book Voir la lumière: #100daysoflumière will be available January 5, 2023, but is available pre-sale now on Amazon and Fnac.

“I once said to my now 13-year-old daughter: ‘I have a book in me.’ I didn’t know which book or what it was going to be about.” During lockdown in Eze in April 2020, Caro invited photographers to join her to find light. “Hundreds of photographers followed the project that consisted in taking and publishing one photo a day. The aim was to photograph the confinement but always trying to find the light and improve technique and art. I am so happy and humbled to have been able to gather a supportive and creative community during a time that was really difficult for some of us.”

The challenge led her to revisit the “book in me”. In 2021, she saw the amount of content she had created. “I had sent many newsletters about photography techniques but also about mindsets and how to cope with challenges, where and how to find creativity and inspiration. I had interviews with colleagues recorded on podcasts and countless pages of notes that had piled over the years doing the challenges. And, of course, some 600 photos created for them.”

Photo: Caro Cuinet Wellings

By the end of the year, she said to herself saisi mon courage à deux mains and wrote a pitch to Eyrolles, a publishing house that specialises in editing photography books. “I started writing in February 2022 when I got the go ahead and now it’s going to print nine months later. My third baby!”

She knew she would travel and learn English. She knew she would write a book. What next for Caro? “I always have projects swirling around in my head. I have dreams of exhibitions of the work created for the challenge, setting up a yearly festival with a conference around it and let it be a forum for exciting learning and human experiences. I want to continue to photographing families and women entrepreneurs. I want to continue my work with other photographers in my workshops or via coaching and see them grow and blossom in what they do. I feel a lot of happiness seeing them in their own paths for the success they have designed for themselves.”

All photos courtesy Caro Cuinet Wellings.

Ecoute Cancer Réconfort

Photo: Manuel Vitali/Direction de la Communication

In October, the Princess Grace Hospital Centre launched its BreastDay Centre devoting a single day to screening, diagnosis and pre-therapeutic support for breast cancer – with having results the same day.

Cancer support is something Valérie Barilaro knows all about. “My father, who left too soon and too young, died of cancer 25 years ago. And as a beautician, which is about wellbeing, touch and listening, I naturally leaned towards helping and supporting others, in particular with Ecoute Cancer Réconfort.”

For the past seven years, Valérie has been president of Ecoute Cancer Réconfort, which on November 29 will celebrate its 30-year anniversary at the Monaco Yacht Club in the presence of Prince Albert and the association’s honorary president, Princess Stephanie.

I had the genuine pleasure to meet Valérie and learn about Ecoute Cancer Réconfort at a MonacoUSA event at Before back in March. The Monegasque association was created in 1992. “Thirty years ago, supportive did not really exist for cancer patients,” explains Valérie. “Our first president, Martine Vacarezza, realised there is an emptiness when you come out of heavy treatments after spending months going to the hospital almost daily. Overnight there is nothing left, no more appointments for three months for that first post-cancer assessment. On the outside everything seems great but for a cancer patient a deep anxiety sets in with the loss of those reassuring hospital landmarks – meeting doctors, routine tests – even if you just want to take your life back.”

Martine had the idea of ​​setting up a support hotline but quickly Ecoute Cancer Réconfort’s founding members understood that more was needed. In the days before VLS (Véhicule Sanitaire Léger/Light Medical Vehicle) taxis that were reimbursed drove people to the hospital, the association offered a car service driven by volunteers to get cancer patients to their treatments. Over time, with a few succeeding presidents, the association evolved with volunteers keeping cancer patients company during chemotherapy.

In 2009, the life-changing Espace Mieux Etre opened its doors at l’Atalante in Fontvieille. This non-medical day care center specialises in free cancer support care provided by seasoned professionals, from psychologists who also practice art therapy through drawing, writing or painting to naturopaths (energy, plantar reflexology, mindfulness meditation, advice on nutrition). Socio-aesthetics (social and aesthetic care) is also on the menu to help manage self-image and confidence in a post-cancer world with treatment side-effects on the skin and nails, as well as alopecia and scarring. Espace Mieux Etre likewise offers sport activities essential to rehabilitation, including tai chi, yoga and hiking, as well as various workshops throughout of the year, in particular, a “self-esteem weekend”.

For anyone like me who has witnessed a family member or friend undergo cancer treatment , this association hits home. Espace Mieux Etre is open to anyone affected by cancer, undergoing treatment or in remission, as well as their families and loved ones, in Monaco and its surroundings.

One cancer patient shares, “There is no way to absorb the news of a doctor announcing face-to-face: ‘You have cancer.’ Time stops and quickly you enter into another world. You do what you have to do but it is not enough. Ecoute Cancer Réconfort is the beginning of mental recovery, a new way of absorbing your sickness. Providing all the various help you need, physical and psychological, in parallel to the treatments, they help you to regain your self-esteem, your strength and advance in your new life. They are not an option, they are an absolute necessity to your full recovery.”

Another expresses, “Ecoute Cancer Réconfort offers us a life despite the disease. We are pampered, like in a cocoon, and this allows us to face everyday life with greater ease. Psychologists, energy treatments, socio-beautician, meditation, conferences, hikes, various and varied workshops punctuate our daily lives and contribute to our wellbeing. The psychological support from each therapist, as well as the benevolence of the volunteers, allows us to go through this period as calmly as possible but also to prepare our future solidly.

“The association is a refuge, a bubble of oxygen and sometimes happiness in our daily lives, and helps us to grow, evolve and come out stronger than before the disease. We can confide without a filter, share our doubts and our fears, which we try to spare our loved ones. It is also very comforting to know that spouses or family can benefit from this support because they need it as much as we do. I am grateful to Ecoute Cancer Réconfort, I wouldn’t be who I am without their help.”

Valérie adds, “A supported patient is a patient who is doing better, who can express his or her fears, talk, exchange with a professional or another patient, or quite simply find an attentive ear, which may not necessarily be the case at home with family or friends. What we see is the evolution of patients over their time with us. Their evolution, their dynamism, their way of bouncing back from the disease when they are accompanied along their journey. We are not concerned only with statistics. ”

This year, Valérie approached Natasha Frost-Savio, president of Pink Ribbon Monaco to help them spread their message during breast cancer month and on Valérie’s initiative, all civil servants in the Principality wore a pink ribbon as a gesture of support and solidarity on October 6. “Even though Pink Ribbon specialises in breast cancer prevention and Ecoute Cancer Réconfort wears several hats, we are partners, like a sorority, and very complementary. Prevention is essential so that we have fewer serious cases on our end.”

The association organises a members’ dinner during the winter and lunch in the summer. “This year for Pink October we had a pink hike where patients could bring whoever they wanted. It gave us the idea to offer it to members for next year. Otherwise, there is the galette des rois in January and the general assembly which allows us to meet our members.”

Valérie says that Ecoute Cancer Réconfort has invited members, sponsors and partners to the anniversary event on November 29, we to says thanks to those who have supported us all these years and without whom this would not be possible. “But we always need new sponsors, donors, members and volunteers to continue our actions because more and more people are becoming sick.”

To donate, volunteer, become a member or learn more, see the Ecoute Cancer Réconfort website.

CHPG’s BreastDay Centre is open Monday to Thursday 9 to 12 and 1 to 5 and Friday to 3:30. For more info, contact +377 97 98 99 55 or contact.sein@chpg.mc

First Period Kits given free to ASM footballers

In March of this year, Red Box Project Monaco became Monarègles, a campaign that looks to break the taboo around periods and advocate the wider distribution of organic period protection to young girls in the Principality and, in particular, to young athletes.

The initiative comes from the Monaco association SheCanHeCan (SCHC), run by its unstoppable founder Vibeke Thomson. “Red Box Project Monaco was designed for schools,” explains Vibeke, “encouraging them to provide free period products for their students. In 2022, we changed the name to Monarègles to include companies and institutions. The Columbus Hotel is the first hotel to sign up in Monaco and from Wednesday, the largest private sector employer in Monaco, SBM Offshore will also provide period products via Monarègles to their teams.”

From Friday, SCHC will offer its First Periods Kits to young players in the U14 and U15 categories of ASM FF (women’s football). Céline Cottalorda, who heads the committee to promote and safeguard women’s rights in the Principality, will be on hand.

“The aim in providing Kits to the ASM FF is threefold,” says Vibeke. “First, to inform young players about their periods and the impact it might have on their performance. Second, to inform them about the importance of using organic products, which are better for them and for the planet – and also to advise them which products are best for their bodies. And third, to promote an open discussion and answer questions to help break the taboo around periods.”

First Periods Kits offered to young players in the U14 and U15 categories of ASM FF.

The teenagers will also receive the guide “Everything about your first periods” designed by SCHC which talks about physical and emotional changes, different period products and how men and boys can best support girls on their periods. 

The kit also includes a packet containing 18 period protections from the English brand Freda, 1 sachet of FabLittleBag. Kits were also distributed by SCHC at the Don Bosco school in Nice with the financial support of CFM Indosuez.

On October 11, SCHC celebrated the Day of the Girl for the fifth consecutive year at the Conseil National but this was the first official event for parliament’s new president, Brigitte Boccones-Pages. “It was highly significant that the event took place a few days after her election as for the first time, students could witness a woman holding the highest office within the National Council, as well as the many female MPs. It reminds me of the saying – ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ And it’s a great inspiration for all students to see a woman president for the first time.”

By signing up to Monarègles with SCHC, companies commit to providing free period products to their teams and, in turn, through their commitment SCHC is also able to give back to the community and provide more period products to schools and women in need, such as refugees and victims of domestic violence.

SheCanHeCan was created in 2011 to help individuals to challenge gender stereotypes.

Period products in the staff bathrooms of Columbus Hotel.

TEDxYouth Monaco: ‘It’s a relief to speak and to know that everyone is listening’

Alicia Sedgwick, author of Communicating Through Change: Lessons Learned From Real Life, teaches Public Speaking, Presentation and Communication Skills at the International University of Monaco. She also works with all backgrounds and all ages, from corporations to private clients and students at the International School of Monaco (ISM). “It is so interesting that small children in their early years can talk freely and chatter without filter but then when they get to primary school age, all that lack of inhibition becomes clouded and they close up.”

Alicia says her training helps students “to open up again, to be free of worries, cares and anxieties when they communicate so they can move through their teens and into adulthood with their self-esteem raised, and the ability to communicate effectively.” And confidence in communicating is essential whether it be through digital communication (online, social media, Zoom), for school or university presentations, or for personal and professional relationships.

Which is why the TEDxYouth event this Saturday, October 15, from 2-4 pm, at ISM is such a huge deal. Its speakers are all ISM students ages 10 to 17. “The aim is not only to raise the profile of TEDxYouth, but to promote its significance as the only TEDxYouth event in the Principality,” says Alicia. This event is open to the public and you can register and sign up for a ticket ( €10) directly from the International School of Monaco website.

“So many of the children who do put themselves forward for the TEDxYouth auditions are way out of their comfort zone. I have had students who speak so quietly, or shift about when they talk, and do not engage, then perform at TEDxYouth with such power and control that I am so impressed and proud.”

The international platform of students presenting include Amael Anwar (Switzerland), Olivia Chisholm (UK and South Africa), Solomon Passegger (Austria), Sophia Zweegers (Morocco and the Netherlands), Margherita Sparaco (Italy), Amelia Banks Clark (UK) and well as Celeste Maximiana Schofield.

Speaker Amali Benner shares, “A lot of my friends call me a chatterbox because I talk so much. But I recently learned that talking just for the sake of talking is rambling and purely a waste of words. I joined TEDxYouth to, like most people, improve my speaking skills.”

For 10-year-old Alexandra Vlad (France and Romania), “I joined TEDx to improve my confidence on stage and possibly to help defeat my slight stage fright. Also, I want to improve my ability to really express myself. In the past I have sometimes been afraid to express myself because I thought that nobody would really listen to me, but it’s such a relief to speak and to know that everyone is listening to me.”

ISM recently held a successful Quiz Night to raise awareness for this second edition of TEDxYouth. “Shasta Almi, the school’s Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator, and Director of Studies Hannah Gettel, who serves on the organising committee, are incredible women and have been amazingly dedicated to the TEDxYouth event.”

2021 TEDxYouth @ISMonaco