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.”

Alicia Sedgwick

Communications Coach Alicia Sedgwick. Photos: Nancy Heslin

You may know her as a host of TEDxMonteCarlo, a third of the Lib Day Darlings, a Public Speaking teacher at the International University of Monaco or even Alicia Sedgwick Communications Coach. 

Now Alicia can add published author to her list of achievements, as her book Communicating Through Change is due to be released on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format on January 19, the same day as she is throwing a Covid-safe ZOOM launch party.

“My book provides an insight into my life, and shares with the reader what I have learned through the experiences of change. I write in a way that whoever reads the book can deal with their experiences and come through them with strength and courage,” Alicia explains.

Having had a sneak peek of a few chapters in Communicating Through Change, Alicia powerfully puts herself out there without playing the victim or preacher. From trying to maintain a heterosexual lifestyle to coping with health uncertainties, she writes in a concise and effectively formatted style, written for real people who want to make real changes.

“We all go through change in our life and anyone at any age can relate to the experiences I write about in this book. Also, the practical guidance and applicable exercises enable the reader to communicate their way through the variety of different changes,” Alicia emphasises.

It is hard to imagine Alicia in her former life. Originally from Leigh on Sea in Essex – “I was actually born in the room in my mum and dad’s house, that was my bedroom!” – the professional blues singer and stage performer originally studied Law and Sociology at Warwick University “because I had more chance of getting a job at the end of my degree.” 

She became a solicitor, eventually specialising in Family Law, and having her own practice. “I loved being able to help people through very difficult times for them but I hated injustice. And I did not like being undermined by my male Partners!”

She adds, “When I came to the South of France, I knew I wanted to be totally true to myself, and that meant not being a lawyer and having to tolerate all the restrictions and regulations imposed that inhibited one’s ability to serve my clients.”

In the process of a major life transition Alicia “took strength and comfort in the good that I had in my life, as I always do. Making the most of life.”

Through two South African ladies living here, Alicia was introduced “to my beloved” Annette Anderson. She travelled back and forth from the UK to see her, until she finally moved here full-time and began living a more authentic life. “Having the incredible love and support of Annette helps me beyond words to believe in myself. Finding a love that is completely balanced, equal, and where each person can be themselves and independent gives tremendous strength and peace.”

Alicia, who is a Communications Expert for the Vitruvius Partners Group, continues to meet change head on. “I learned during the health pandemic that as long as we can stay well, and are able to work, I can be very much in the present, and see this change as an opportunity.” And, more than ever, people are needing her services to help them communicate effectively, and with impact, on camera and online.

Hard to imagine but she admits, “I have been without confidence for a lot of my life, especially as a lawyer. Only in recent years have I felt fulfilled – through teaching, training and coaching in public speaking, presentation and communication skills, all of which help people, give them confidence, empower, motivate and inspire – and come into my own.”

Communicating Through Change by Alicia Sedgwick is available in paperback and for kindle on Amazon from January 19. There are only a few more spots open for her release party here – sign up here.