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Esplanade 1925 lounge & coctail bar

Successful visit by acclaimed French Chef in Zagreb

With his delightful charm and culinary creations with a gala dinner at the Esplanade, chef, Xavier Mathieu thrilled guests, and both young generations and experienced Croatian chefs.

As part of his short stay in Zagreb, one of the most acclaimed French chefs, Xavier Mathieu held a marvellous gala champagne dinner at the Esplanade, an educational culinary workshop at the Hospitality and Tourism Institute and a Masterclass for Croatian chefs.

Zagreb welcomed chef, Xavier Mathieu, one of the most acclaimed French chefs – holder of a Michelin star, winner of numerous awards and representative of the famous Le Phebus & Spa Carita in French Provence.

Upon his visit to Zagreb, in collaboration with chef Ana Grgić, the experienced and charming first lady of the Esplanade and her team of chefs, on Wednesday, chef Mathieu prepared a glorious festive Christmas champagne dinner. In the overflowing Zinfandel’s Restaurant, where there was a continued demand for tables, this charming Frenchman thrilled Zagreb’s residents and guests with a truly sumptuous five-course menu with his very own specialties. Carefully selected dishes were served in combination with a selection of top French champagne Veuve Clicquot and Ruinart.

Irresistible Provencal flavours absorbed the room such as avocado with crab meat, citrus fruits and cream and powder cauliflower, brandade of cod with clams St. James, lemon verbena and saffron, then delicious lamb shoulder with the use of cumin, melted potatoes with olive oil and appealing crunchy chocolate cake with raspberries and sweet pepper.

Those who had the opportunity to taste these delicious flavours included famous Croatian chefs who were present at the Masterclass culinary workshop closely following every move of the famous chef in order to discover new culinary secrets of the trade.

During his time in Zagreb, with the support of the French Institute in Croatia, the established French chef held an educational culinary workshop in the Hospitality and Tourism Institute in Novi Zagreb, where he presented high school students the skills of food preparation. Xavier’s visit was a special experience for future young chefs, which certainly left a strong impact. His aim was to share his enthusiasm and love for the kitchen to encourage learning, creative thinking and the development of a unique style of cooking, in order to transform and develop them in the years ahead into Croatian culinary stars.

“I am delighted to have introduced French chef Xavier Mathieu to Zagreb. The Masterclass and gala dinner cooking in collaboration with the talented Croatian chef Ana Grgić were very successful. In Zagreb, it is a great honour to host this exceptional chef, director of the famous restaurant-hotel Relais & Chateaux Le Phebus & Spa Carita who has gained prestigious recognition within French gastronomy, including one Michelin star. This exchange between Croatian and French professionals was a unique opportunity to share knowledge and gastronomy experiences and the art of living which our two countries cultivate a strong relationship.” stated Her Excellency Mrs. Michelle Boccoz, Ambassador of France in Croatia.

“This year, I truly believe that we have genuinely enriched Zagreb’s culinary scene with this beautiful Christmas champagne gala dinner. It has been a wonderful introduction to the upcoming holidays. I show my deepest gratitude to chef Xavier Mathieu and chef Ana Grgić for the extremely successful results of this intriguing gourmet project. Last year, in cooperation with the Miva Wine Gallery, we brought the famous chef, Pascal Tingaud, representative of the champagne house Moët & Chandon, to Zagreb and this beautiful tradition will continue in the coming years for lovers of culinary gala events to truly enjoy the sparkling entertainment and fine international delicacies.” said Ivica Max Krizmanić, General Manager of Esplanade Hotel.


Xavier Mathieu is the manager and chef at the famous Provencal restaurant Xavier MATHIEU’s located within Le Phébus & Spa Carita five-star hotel listed within the Michelin Guide and is part of the exclusive Relais & Châteaux group. Chef Xavier has a particular passion for gastronomy, ancient Provencal recipes and organizing culinary educational workshops. His own culinary journey began as an apprentice chef in 1984 at the famous restaurant M. Lucullus HIELY with two Michelin stars in the ‘papal city’ of Avignon. A year later he landed a position in the David restaurant with one Michelin star in picturesque Provencal town of Roussillon. It was here he perfected his culinary skills and the art of food preparation. During 1986 to 1991, he moved up a few steps to the famous Le Moulin de Mougins restaurant awarded with three Michelin stars. There he polished his knowledge under the guidance of fine French chef Roger Vergé. His work and talent has been recognized by a further famous French chef, M. Gérard VIE who offered him an attractive position as one of the chefs in the restaurant of the Palace of Versailles, Les Trois Marches – Trianon Palace with two Michelin stars. Not long after, in 1994 Xavier accepted the position as a chef at the famous Paris restaurant, of the acclaimed and world-renowned chef, Joël Robuchon, with three Michelin stars who was proclaimed by influential Gault Millau as “Chef of the Century“. In 1995 he took up the position as a chef at Le Phébus & Spa Carita hotel and in 2001 the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in the Red Guide, which coincided with Xavier taking over the function of hotel manager.
Ambition, the desire for knowledge and expert culinary talent have led Xavier to France’s most prestigious restaurants, and his dedication has been recognized through numerous awards. 2002 and later in 2008 saw him voted as Young Chef of the Year by the Champérard guide. He has become a member of the Académie Culinaire de France and honorary member of the Académie Nationale de Cuisine. In 2008, Relais & Châteaux presented Xavier the Rising Chef Trophy award in Washington.

Ana Grgić, Chef de cuisine of the prestigious Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, has already had the opportunity to work alongside numerous famous chefs from around the world. At last year’s Christmas champagne dinner she hosted the main chef of the prestigious champagne house Moët & Chandon.
“After a very successful guest appearance of Pascal Tinguad, I’m looking forward to the next champagne evening ready to welcome our guest chef Xavier Mathieu. I’ve heard many beautiful things about him, and we’ve already been in contact while creating the menu and champagne pairing. I believe this will be a truly special evening for all guests and those who love fine food and will become a wonderful introduction to the upcoming holidays,” Ana said.

This young, yet experienced Chef has already spent almost four years as the head of Zinfandel’s, one of the best restaurants in Croatia, the charming French Le Bistro and Esplanade Catering. Ana continues to follow the tradition of the Esplanade, keeping up with international trends in exquisite dining experiences. Her creative and imaginative menus in recent years have impressed numerous guests and celebrities from the world of showbiz and royalty such as the Swedish king and queen, Prince and Princess of Japan, Prince of Saudi Arabia, the royal couple from Denmark and many others who been impacted by Ana’s ingenuity of preparing meals. Zinfandel’s Restaurant has repeatedly been awarded for culinary excellence with prestigious awards, such as Great Rail Journeys Gold Food Award, Guida Gallo for the 101 best risottos in the world, Tripadvisor Hall of Fame and the Certificate of Excellence and many others. These all certainly stand as valuable achievements based on experiences and ratings, which place this restaurant among the world’s elite.

The tradition of this distinctive yellow labelled champagne dates from the 18th century, when Philippe Clicquot founded the winery under the name Clicquot. The family champagne house was later taken over by Barbe Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin and was made into the world-famous brand. Today, Veuve Clicquot is part of the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy group and is one of the most acclaimed champagne houses in the world. The guiding principle of the company is the insistence on quality, and becoming the best. Veuve Clicquot champagne epitomizes modernity and centuries-old tradition with an emphasis on quality that is recognized around the world, including Croatia.

Ruinart, founded in 1729, is the oldest champagne house which produces exclusive champagnes. Founded by Nicolas Ruinart in the Champagne region, in the city of Reims, today it is owned by the parent company Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy. Light, intensity and elegance – a combination of these unique characteristics forms the wonder that is called the “Ruinart taste” – exclusive personality and in a class of its own.

Contact, Esplanade Zagreb Hotel:

Sanda Sokol
PR & Marketing Manager

T. +385 1 45 66 036
M. +385 91 47 666 47
E. [email protected]
Mihanovićeva 1, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

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