Croatian Luxury Food Importer Enters Pre-Bankruptcy Proceedings

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Commercial Court in Zagreb has opened the pre-bankruptcy proceedings of Marijo Mendek’s company Selection MM, known as the most famous Croatian luxury food importer and premium wines. The move was initiated at Mendek’s own request due to “threats of insolvency” as well as blocked accounts and an established debt of about 219,000 kuna.

In his own proposal, Mendek also listed the assets owned by MM Selection, which also includes the MM building in Ilica in Zagreb’s Kustosija, three Citroen delivery vehicles and a mini cooper one. He has also listed the claims of MM Selection against almost 70 debtors which amounts to a massive 1.77 million kuna.

Among them are companies associated with Marijo Mendek, but also companies through which some of the top Croatian restaurants are run, such as Baltazar restoran d.o.o, Barbieris restaurants d.o.o. and Esplanade Oleander d.o.o. It is interesting to point out that Mendek’s list of debtors also includes the Ministry of Finance, from which he is demanding slightly more than 48,000 kuna.

The most famous Croatian luxury food importer was otherwise founded back in 2010 with a 4.1 million kuna of share capital and is based in Zagreb’s Ilica, and Mendek is listed in the court register as its sole founder and director. As a guest of gastro and lifestyle sections of various Croatian media portals, Mendek often pointed out that his story with food started back in the late eighties in Munich, Germany, where he worked for years in a two-Michelin-star restaurant.

“It was there that I first encountered premium products like caviar, foie gras etc and have been hopelessly in love with food ever since. At that time, I had no idea to what extent my love for food would mark my life,” Mendes pointed out.

He added that he started the MM Selection upon his return home to Croatia, all with the aim of transmitting to Croatia everything he learned about high-end gastronomy and offering the domestic market “quality food from around the world”. Following that, he became one of the largest importers and distributors of world-famous food brands, delicacies and premium wines from across the globe.

Mendek appeared on the Croatian hospitality scene some 25 years ago, and he was the very first to import top Bordeaux wines to Croatia, and his company Kult Dioniza, which no longer exists, once held the best classic foreign wines in all of Croatia, according to the Plava kamenica website.

They added that Mendek’s wine business went bankrupt in the middle of the first decade of this century. After that, he switched to operating as a Croatian luxury food importer, and his first big client was Zagreb’s famed Esplanade. Among other things, Mendek, according to media reports, imports French oysters, real caviar, Japanese beef, Sicilian gambero rosso and Spanish bluefin tuna.

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