Fuelled with a wealth of experience garnered in some of the finest Michelin star restaurants in France, Gregory Czarnecki lends his fine dining flair to the Cape Winelands as the Executive Chef of the signature restaurant at Waterkloof Estate in the Helderberg.
Born and bred in Burgundy, his cooking style remains loyal to his French roots and the lessons learnt from his mentor, 3-star Michelin Chef Alain Senderens. Gregory Czarnecki’s food at this gorgeously appointed gourmet hotspot is enriched by fresh inspiration from the restaurant’s spectacular setting, perched high on the slopes of the Schapenberg with an eagle’s view over False Bay.
“Our open plan kitchen emphasises the Waterkloof winemaking philosophy of openness and transparency. Although stylistically diverse, each of the estate’s elegant wines carries a strong core of elegance and integrity and that is exactly what my food is all about. Classical cuisine cooked in a contemporary style with a modern French twist,” explains Gregory, a passionate purist with a creative edge.
Blessed with a natural ability to turn classic recipes and the finest quality, local and seasonal produce into an unsurpassed dining experience fit for discerning palates, his career guest list attests his high culinary standards. Tony Blair, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Paul McCartney and Woody Allen are but a few of the high profile personalities he has cooked for during his French tenure which ended when he moved to South Africa in 2008.
Gregory Czarnecki’s international culinary career saw him working exclusively in the Parisian kitchens of Michelin rated restaurants, including the 2-star Restaurant Senderens; the 3-star Relais & Châteaux Restaurant Lucas Carton and the Michelin star Pergolèse. Other highlights include the opening, recipe design and menu conceptualisation for leading restaurants in Brussels, Genève and Lyon.
“I draw inspiration from people who not only love good food and wine but also appreciate wine and food pairings. Guests who seek the best local seasonal produce to complement wine with a naturalist approach,” adds Grégory who shares his passion with his staff to achieve the ultimate combination of textures, taste and flavour with each meal they serve.