Meet Mathieu and Jacques Lagarde, Parisians of Portuguese origin, whose love for cooking was ignited at a young age. Now at the helm of Cascada’s kitchen, their relentless quest for innovation and culinary excellence shines brighter than ever before.
Growing up in a large family of 5 children, they found themselves irresistibly drawn to the culinary world. Their passion blossomed during holidays spent with their grandmother in Portugal, where they witnessed her craft her own cheese, bake bread, and live off the land – an experience that left a lasting impression on them. At just 15 years old, they embarked on their journey as chefs.
Mathieu’s apprenticeship began at “Chez André,” and he later became a chef de partie at the renowned restaurant “Le Congrès.” Impressively, at the age of 21, he rose to the position of sous-chef at the prestigious “Pavillon Montsouris.” His talent was further recognized when he worked as a chef de partie at the starred restaurant “La Grande Cascade.”
Jacques started his culinary career in the charming bistro-style restaurant, “Le Sebillon,” and then went on to work with a two Michelin-starred chef at “Les petites sorcières,” a restaurant with a menu that changed twice a day. Following in his brother’s footsteps, he also joined “Pavillon Montsouris.”
Their desire for culinary exploration took them to Australia, where they worked at the esteemed “Cottage Point Inn,” renowned for its two-hatted excellence. The journey exposed them to the wonders of wildlife, nature, hunting, and fishing, which significantly influenced their culinary perspective and search for identity in food.
Continuing their quest, they made their way to New Zealand, where Mathieu served as the executive chef and Jacques as the sous chef at the acclaimed “Amisfield” restaurant – crowned the best in the country in 2022, boasting three hats.
Throughout their travels, they embraced the philosophy of growing their ingredients, harnessing the raw potential of each element, and emphasizing a natural approach to their cooking.
In 2020, Jacques ventured to Spain and found himself captivated by “Cascada,” a restaurant he quickly transformed into his own. As head chef, he carefully crafted his unique menu and further developed his culinary identity.
Meanwhile, Mathieu stayed in New Zealand, where he was invited to be a guest chef on MasterChef. The experience inspired both brothers to compete in Top Chef France 2023, an opportunity to express their culinary philosophy and showcase their innovative thinking through cuisine.
Following the competition, Mathieu returned to New Zealand, and Jacques to Spain, but the fire of collaboration burned within them. They knew they had to reunite once more! With their shared vision and unwavering determination, they both joined forces again, aiming to make “Cascada” more successful than ever before, and create a new and exciting chapter in their culinary journey.