Pepi Anevski – World Sushi Champion
Pepi Anevski – World Sushi Champion. Read his great story here.
Today you are a Sushi Chef and Consultant, with many experiences and awards as Sushi Chef. When did this journey begin as a chef? What drove you to become a chef?
My journey as a chef started 20 years ago and it was the love for food that drove me to this industry. The curiosity and the challenge drove me to the sushi world, something new and challenging for a chef at that time.
Which cooking school did you visit?
I never went to a cooking school. I learned by working from the bottom and worked my self up, always striving to reach a goal to become better then I was the day before.
How would you describe your culinary line today?
My culinary line today is innovative sushi where I use traditional methods of preparing the food and adding modern aspect to it.
You have many years of experience as a sushi chef. What fascinates you about Japanese cuisine?
The fascinating within the Japanese kitchen is the respect for the products by not preparing them to much but rather let them and its taste to blossom naturally on a dish combined with other products.
Japanese food is often very simple and traditional. Do you have experience with some modern Japanese recipes?
Yes. I always try to develop modern recipes but keeping the respect for the simplicity.
Even the Japanese cuisine relies on excellent ingredients: As a Japanese and sushi chef – do you have a close connection to your producers/suppliers?
I used to have when I was working in a kitchen. Nowadays its harder as I a travel from place to place and have to rely at others for organising products.
At the moment you work as a freelancer and you also hold seminars: Can you tell us something about this work? Is the work specialized in a segment?
The work as private chef is based on the clients request of what kind of sushi they would prefer for there customers and the seminars are based on the needs of the client depending of the sushi knowledge level they have. Both work are customised before I travel to fulfilled the required needs of the client.
What you bring to the table is a solid understanding of cultural differences. Do you have some examples of this approach?
I try to understand the cultural differences in the regions that I visit and adapt to their palates to my way of creating sushi. An example is in Nordic countries I mix Nordic flavours/products into my sushi creations to merge the food cultures into a dish.
You are as well World Sushi Champion. What was the winning dish?
The winning dish was called The first sunlight across the four seasons. In each corner of the square plate I created a pair of nigiri that would represent each seasons with taste and appearance. In the middle of the plate was some gunkan and maki which represented the sunlight, mostly by appearance.
Sushi in Japan is simple and perfect. The “crazy sushi creations” are mainly found outside of Japan. What is the reason for that?
I would rather say that the sushi in Japan is more traditional, which of course makes it good. Outside Japan there are a lot of crazy creations and I think its because many chefs try to develop new ideas but forgetting the respect for the product simplicity. Also there is a lot of regions I have visited where the public knowledge of sushi is low and they cant appreciate the flavours of traditional sushi but have the desire to eat sushi which puts some chefs working in this regions in locked situations where they have to create this crazy sushi for the business to run.
You are from Sweden. The Swedish kitchen is great and very popular in as Nordic cuisine. Hand on heart. Are you not missing to be a Swedish chef/not missing the Swedish cuisine?
Not at all.
Can you share some of your most successful and some of your latest recipes?
I can mention some of my ideas which are soy balsamic oil, lobster foam, sake gel, yuso miso cream, limeginger vinaigrette, mango leather, creamy soy. This recipes are matched depending on the products taste, texture and colour.
How do you come up with new recipes? What inspires you?
I come up with new recipes by studying molecular gastronomy, flavour combination, season understanding and always have the will to try new ideas. The inspiration I get is to understand different culture palates and combine them into work with sushi.
Any place in the world you would like to gain experiences/work as chef?
No not any particular place actually. I like working in different regions and getting exposed for new thinking by exploring the regions food offerings. In this way I get inspired and motivated to create new ideas which for me is a way to develop.
If someday you opened your own small and specialized restaurant, where would it be and what it offers?
At the moment I am a part of a group which are opening a sushi franchise concept in Sweden for international growth. The concept is called SushiRebellion and offering traditional sushi with innovating flavours and also other dishes which are Japanese influenced with fusion aspects. When the right moment will occur I will open a modern omakase restaurant where I will create sushi with all the ideas I have got from my international travels and my long experience of creating sushi. No particular region in mind at the moment.
Thank you, Pepi!