How did you adapt classical Bulgarian dishes to the nouvelle cuisine concept?
The classical Bulgarian dishes are true food for me. Everyone should be able to prepare and eat them. We changed them visually and also some technical details in preparation, but kept the taste the same. We even have an old wood stove in the basement and prepare most of the menu on it. Each dish should not only taste authentically, but should look impeccable, as one eats with the eyes first.
Which of your dishes would you recommend to a foreigner who is yet to discover Bulgarian cuisine?
Our Kachamak, or polenta. It is a standard one, but lighter. We replaced the pork cracklings in the original recipe with pork terrine prepared in a very specific way. Thus we preserved the genuine tastes of true Kachamak of cornmeal and lightly smoked cottage cheese, but kept the texture much lighter.
I would also recommend the veal tongue. Many places in Bulgaria offer veal tongue in butter, but in our recipe the meat has a crust of nuts. We also serve with it a vegetable and fruit salad with an Asian dressing that brings a new touch to the Bulgarian dish.
What did Hell's Kitchen teach you?
Lot's of things. It showed me how much I am yet to learn. When it ended, I became calmer as constant screaming is definitely not my thing. I learnt to continue looking for new knowledge, skills, methods, techniques, combinations of tastes and products. I learnt to work in a team, which is crucial no matter how talented a cook is. I learnt that you should control your ego and I realised that no matter how big your experience is, you can always learn something new from other people. Generally, the show helped me to grow up personally. It also got me interested in Asian food. It has really intriguing techniques and combinations of tastes which I now use to enrich Bulgarian cuisine.
Sofia, 174 Georgi Rakovski St
phone: +359 893 379 767