Stanislaw Bobowski – Executive Chef with the Radisson Hotel Group in St Petersburg
Stanislaw Bobowski is an executive chef in the Radisson Hotel Group in St Petersburg. He gives us insights into the wonderful Russia.
You currently work as Executive Chef with the Radisson Hotel Group in St Petersburg, Russia. Tell us about how you got started as a chef. Why did you decide on cooking professionally?
I come from a family with culinary traditions. My grandfather’s sister worked as a personal chef. She cooked for owners of nearby mansions and priests. My mum worked as a chef as well. My younger brother is a chef and his wife is a pastry chef. So there has been a lot of food and cooking since I was a kid.
Which culinary school did you attend?
I attended Gastronomic School of Economics in Rzeszow and a 3 year course of Tourism at the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow, Poland.
What will you never forget about your first year as a chef?
First year as a chef was not easy as you didn’t have much experience on how to organise your work and how to cooperate with other people around you to make the job efficient and successful.
Every career starts with hard moments when you think about giving up. Were there such moments in your career, and how did you overcome them?
Working in a busy hotel kitchen as a young chef was a great experience but I started to question whether it was the right decision. My friends worked only during the week and could enjoy free weekends, had better pay and worked less hours. Then I realized that being a chef makes me happy even if it was hard work and that’s what I wanted to do.
You worked many years as first chef for Princess Cruise. What was your greatest learning experience out of this tough cruise job?
The greatest thing that I learned during the cruise job was how to organise your daily routines as this was crucial with the amount of work we had. Another thing was to learn how to work as a team with people from over 30 countries. The diversity of the working environment was an absolutely valuable experience and gives you so many perspectives on how people work and cope with stress.
For Marriott you worked many years in England. What did you take away from a culinary point of view out of the British cuisine?
When you say Great Britain you think three different countries : England, Scotland, Wales, each with a rich and different cuisine. You can sample cuisines from all around the world – Chinese, Indian, Italian, French, American, Spanish, Thai, etc., reflecting the ethnic diversity of Britain today.
But also, each Sunday everybody makes a traditional Sunday roast so people don’t forget about the classic dishes. Today in the UK many pubs that serve typical British cuisine have been awarded by Michelin star. It proves that if you are proud of what you do you can go far.
After many years as Executive Chef of the Radisson Blu in Krakow, Poland; you moved recently as Executive Chef for the Radisson Hotel Group to St Petersburg, Russia. How would you describe the Russian cuisine best?
Russia is a country where you can taste very different dishes of many ethnic groups such as Uzbekistan or Georgia. However you’ll find traditional Russian cuisine in any corner of the Petersburg.
It is influenced by different environmental, social, geographical, economic and historical factors. The main feature of Russian cuisine is numerous dishes made of dough such as pirog vareniki ,pielemini, cakes and blini,
Being a country of Orthodox Christian religion, which implies numerous fasts, Russian cuisine offers a great number of vegetarian dishes. It is also rich in meat, poultry and fish dishes which are served on various occasions.
Petersburg offers some restaurants that serve typical Russian dishes such as Borsch restaurant in a very modern way using different techniques. Some of the restaurants are located nearby modern art museums and offer a menu that is inspired by famous artists or a current theme exhibition.
What are the major similarities and difference you see in the Polish and Russian cuisine?
Russian and Polish cuisines have a lot in common. Both cuisines have some great history and dishes that almost everybody knows around the world. However, during the communism era the Russian cuisine was not developing and neither was the Polish cuisine. Both cuisines use a lot of flour, kasha, beetroots and have similar dumpling dishes.
In Polish cuisine there are Russian pierogi that nobody heard of in Russia and in Russian cuisine there is a Polish style pike filet that I never heard about in Poland.
As Executive Chef at the Radisson Hotel Group today, what is the culinary direction/ set up there?
Culinary experience that we bring to our guests is a big part for authentic and memorable experiences Inspired by today’s lifestyles. Each property offers distinctive choices ranging from intimate settings to social, multi-use spaces.
What are the current trends / developments you see in St Petersburg culinary world?
Petersburg is booming with new restaurants that are opened in old factories, closed long ago and they offer all kinds of burgers or a mix of Asian style, Italian or vegetarian dishes.
Thank you Stanislaw!
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