What was it like cooking for Xi Jinping and Emmanuel Macron?


Hong Kong
CNN

During the 11 years that Chinese President Xi Jinping has been in power, he has been ousted by accident Many food and travel trendsFrom increasing bao sales in Beijing to accelerating English pub sales.

But when it comes to the official state dinners he attends, the public rarely gets to enjoy the same dishes.

Until now.

In early May, Xi embarked on a whirlwind tour through Europe, his first since 2019. French President Emmanuel Macron, while in Paris, hosted a formal state dinner at the Elysee Palace in honor of the Chinese leader, marking the 60th anniversary of China-France diplomatic ties.

But curious diners looking for a chance to sample what was served to two world leaders won’t find food in Paris.

For that, they have to go to a Hong Kong restaurant PleasureA special has begun China-France State Dinner Experience Menu It will be available till the end of June.

The restaurant is an outpost of Mauro Colagreco, chef-owner of the famous restaurant Mirazur in Menton, France, and one of three chefs invited to create the state dinner menu.

Laurent Blevennec/President of the Republic

Chef Mauro Colagreco, seen here shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping, was one of three chefs invited to prepare a recent royal dinner in France.

Colgrego says the opportunity to cook for famous world leaders began with a phone call from the Elysée Palace.

„[They were] „For reasons of state confidentiality, I am asked to participate in the menu for this state dinner without knowing who the chief guest will be,” Colligrego says in an email to CNN, adding that he quickly accepted the job.

“It adds to the excitement because you never know what the guest’s tastes will be. But in the end, we created a menu that is very authentic to the cuisine I love, with exceptional products and delicate flavors.

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Colegreco was tasked with crafting the night’s starter.

With his Italian-Argentine background and experience in France, the chef is known for combining influences from all of those cultures, with a strong focus on seasonality and sustainability.

In 2019, he became the first non-French chef to receive three Michelin stars in France with Mirazur. In the same year it was crowned the No.1 restaurant in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards.

Colagreco said his team only had a month to design and prepare their dish for the state dinner – but the chefs were given „carte blanche” to create whatever they wanted as long as it was „representative and respectful of French products”.

„I have to admit, I was very confident when I found out who the guest was; I have a deep love for Asia and had my first experience in Shanghai in 2011,” says Colagreco.

In addition to Plaisance Restaurant in Hong Kong, his restaurant group now has five establishments in mainland China.

Colagreco says creating a menu for two world leaders was a challenging and thrilling experience.

After creating the recipes, the chefs sent their various requirements and lists of ingredients to the Elysée Palace kitchen team. Chef Fabrice Desvignes.

Later, on the morning of the state banquet, the Mirasur team arrived to prepare the evening meal along with other chefs. Within this short period of time, Colagreco says, they need to be flexible and move around an unfamiliar kitchen quickly and smoothly.

„Then we had a visit from Mrs. Brigitte Macron in the kitchens, which really reassured and inspired us,” he says of meeting France’s first lady.

“Cooking is very responsible for her. We are only now realizing how lucky we are to have been a part of this amazing moment.

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Ly Sun Dining

Mauro Colagreco’s starter, named Tourteau & Oscietra Caviar, is blanketed with flower petals grown on his restaurant’s farm.

A total of 250 guests were invited to the state banquet.

The final menu was relatively short – a three-course meal to suit the leaders’ tight schedule.

Colagreco’s starter is a Tourteau crab (indigenous crab from France) and the Oscietra caviar cake is a beautiful pink and purple flowered jelly-cast blanket.

„The whole team took the time to come up with an amazing dish,” says Colagreco.

“We had to offer flavors that would appeal to everyone’s taste buds, but also present our culinary identity. The aim is to demonstrate our expertise in healthy food and respect for the product.

„But it was an artistic and colorful presentation, a veil of our cosmos flowers that we brought from our unique Mirasur gardens. Aesthetics is very important because it’s the first approach to a dish and it’s particularly refined.

And luckily for the chef, that attention to detail hasn’t gone unnoticed.

„The wife of the Chinese president found it very attractive, so the mission was accomplished,” he says.

Colagreco was able to speak with the guests at the end of the party. It was then that Ji’s wife Peng Liyuan thanked him and praised the aesthetics, elegance and flavors of the starter.

Pierre Gagnier, chef at a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Paris, was in charge of the main course of the evening.

He likes to serve Bressie chicken and morels slow-cooked in a mixture of cognac, port and Madeira wine and chicken stock. The dish was topped with a sauce made with Vin Jaune, a special white wine made in France’s wine-producing Jura region.

Dessert, strawberries and verbena pavlova created by the delicatessen’s founder and superstar pastry chef Nina Metayer, concluded the evening.

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Fromagerie Quatrehomme, a cheesemonger and purveyor in Paris since 1953, curated the cheeses for the show. All the serveware used during the dinner was provided by La Manufacture de Sèvres, which was founded in 1759 and is one of France’s premier royal/national porcelain factories.

Ly Sun Dining

Diners in Hong Kong can now sample the three dishes served at the State Dinner at Colagreco’s Plaisance restaurant in Hong Kong.

At Colagreco’s Plaisance restaurant in Hong Kong, diners will enjoy all three dishes Xi and Macron served during a recent state dinner.

The chef says the dishes and ingredients will stay true to the original versions — only the presentations will be tweaked as the tableware is different.

For those with a little more time than Xi and Macron, the restaurant also offers a longer menu with three additional dishes from Mirazur and Plaisance restaurants. The three-course option starts at 1,888 Hong Kong dollars ($241), while the six-course menu costs 2,888 Hong Kong dollars ($369).

After moving to France in 2001 and opening Mirazur in 2006, Colagreco says the state dinner was a special moment for him.

„I am truly honored to be selected for this exceptional dinner and to represent France through my cuisine, which I have been hosting for 23 years,” says the chef, now 47.

„I truly believe that food is what brings the world together. Cooking is an act of love. As chefs, it is our duty to provide these shared values ​​and to contribute to a favorable atmosphere for this kind of diplomatic feast. We are ambassadors, we use our food to express French knowledge and introduce people to our culture through flavors and combinations of flavors. We use

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