Rafal Marosek – Executive Chef in Oslo, Norway
Rafal Marosek works at congresses, conferences, fairs and banquets – always big kitchens and a huge amount of food to prepare. Read more about how he still manage to create delicious creations.
A chef portrait of Rafal Marosek
Rafal, today you work as Executive Chef in Oslo, Norway. What fascinates you today and over many years to be a chef?
Today it is so interesting and exciting because my work as an executive chef here on Norway Trade Fairs everyday gives me new challenges. Big international congresses and conferences with guests from whole world, very big banquets for local companies, f. ex. 4000 guests on three course dinner. Many different bars and restaurants during fairs also give me chance to follow trends and gives possibility to serve different types of food. International classics, street food, dishes connected with local market etc.
Before I have been working in many places, many countries and many different types of cuisines. That was kind of great adventure and great lessons as well.
You visited the gastronomic high school in Warsaw and worked for many years in Warsaw with Sheraton and Hilton. How would you describe Polish cuisine in one sentence?
It’s hard to describe it in one sentence. Period when Poland was behind “iron curtain” made a real destruction in polish gastronomy. Now after almost 30 years when communism has gone we reach level like rest of Europe. In Warsaw two restaurants have Michelin stars, polish chefs started to go for trainings to best European restaurants. That’s very positive. Local groceries, rarely seen and forgotten products came back to restaurants. Old cook techniques are again popular.
Nordic Cuisine became so popular. What is your impression of Norway’s cuisine?
Yes, that’s true. I think focus on products helped to reach highest positions in Europe. Quality of products and creativity of Scandinavian chefs who learned how to fully use narrow range of products that grows in this raw climate was biggest success factor.
How would you describe your culinary line today?
Congresses, conferences, fairs and banquets. This is main things I have to work with. So big kitchens, huge amount of food. But still I know where I was grown from and it is very important for me to be sure that every single plate will be perfect and all my kitchens are working like they should.
What are the typical Norway spices?
Dill and lemon are always with fish dishes here in Norway. Cardamom in waffles. Caraway with cabbage dishes. Nutmeg with potato puree. In Christmas time dishes have more spices that they are not common everyday, like: cloves and juniper.
At your work as Executive Chef in Oslo today – does seasonal cooking plays a role?
Oh yes. It is very important to me, especially with fish dishes. I am always trying to buy fish when it’s a best period for them. Then they are really great. Also it is important with vegetables and fruits.
The regional/local supply gains more importance: Do you have as well some local partners?
Yes, of course. Mostly I am working with big suppliers because I am big client and not everybody can handle my orders. But it’s very important for me to cooperate with local partners. Especially when I need game products.
Where do you get your inspiration for new creations?
Travelling around the world, eating in many different restaurants, visiting local markets. This can open your mind. Of course, books are also very important. And internet and TV help with being on tune with new trends.
Can you share with us 1 or 2 of your latest dishes/recipes?
Beef cheeks with truffle sauce, celery puree and honey glazed carrots.
First we have to clean cheeks than marinate it with red wine, rosemary, peppercorn during night. Next day fry meat golden brown from each side, put in a pot. On a same pan fry chopped vegetables: onions, garlic, carrots, celery. Move it to the pot. Cover with bulion and cook on a low heat for a 3-4 hours until meat is very tender. Meat can be cooked in Sous vide as well. Then it’s ready to serve.
Sounds delicious! Does Oslo itself have some culinary specialties?
Fresh fishes, salmon and cod, and of course delicious shrimps, peeled one served as a shrimp sandwich on a slice of sourdough bread with mayonnaise, wedge of lemon and dill or as a unpeeled version. Mussels with white wine is also very famous dish here in Oslo. But seafood is not everything. Its a capital city so You can try many international cuisines here as well. And there is of course one thing popular in whole Norway. Wienerpølse med lompe- classical hot-dog but served in kind of thin potato pancakes instead of bread.
If you would create a Polish-Norway fusion dish, what would it be?
Probably I would make slow cooked Norwegian leg of lamb, which I prefer a lot, and polish pierogi stuffed with sauerkraut and wild mushrooms. Classical tastes with new and fresh touch.
If you would open your own small restaurant, where would it be and with which specialisation?
Probably it would be local bistro where I can use great products and create my signature dishes.
Is there any place in the world you would like to work as chef one day?
I’ve never worked in Asia. Go to the heart of that world of great tastes could be a great adventure.
If you had time to write your own culinary book, what would it be about?
I would like to write a book about all those years of my career. Poland, England, Norway. What I saw there, how I used it at my work. What are my signature dishes and what kind of dishes people eat in these countries.
Thank you very much, Rafal!