This year’s debuting Bellavita Expo at Warsaw, working in partnership with WorldFood Warsaw , between the 11 to 13 April, top chefs and sommeliers will gather on the popular Italian Pavilion stage to discuss the importance and excellence of authentic Italian produce. Joining them will be Polish chef Marzena Gromelska, who has worked in Warsaw’s popular Chianti Kregliccy since it began, gaining a unique exposure to the flavour combinations and cooking techniques of artisan Italian cuisine. Ahead of her workshop on the 12th, Bellavita Expo caught up with her for a quick chat, to discuss her work and what we can expect from her masterclass entitled: PrimiPrimi Piatti: There is Much More Beyond Spaghetti.
: Marzena, you have worked at Chianti Kregliccy since it began in 1997, what first got you into the food industry? And what inspired you the most to work with Italian food?
Marzena : Actually, growing up I always wanted to be the sports teacher, I love sport and activity but since I lived in a small village in the middle of nowhere it was difficult to find a suitable school. My second love was always food and cooking so I choose to pursue the culinary school option, which thankfully wasn’t far away from my village. I always spent a lot of time with my mum and grandmother in the kitchen, preparing the meals for the men who were working in the fields.
Bellavita : It’s no secret that Poland loves Italian food, but Chianti has been recognised by both the ‘Accademia della Cucina Italiana’, and the Gault & Millau Guide, what do you think makes your restaurant stand out and continue to thrive in its 20th year?
Marzena : One word: People. – The main team hasn’t changed for more than 20 years, in fact 80% of us who started in the 1990’s, are still there. Although the Italian head chefs changed every few years I feel as a group we learned a lot from everyone: the Italian style and taste , the way to best present each individual dish and a genuine love for Italy. Now we have our own style and way of interpretation of Italian cuisine. After twenty years of rave reviews, we are still very happy that our guests appreciate what we do and they continue to inspire us to this day.
Bellavita : The trade has an increased pressure to cater for Generation Y (the young business professionals), do you feel that there is increasing pressure for the restaurant business to adapt their recipes for a more ‘health conscious’ generation?
Marzena : I feel that generation Y has started to rediscover the traditions and cuisine of their grandparents, shifting away from the mass produced products and ready-meals that were popular when I first started cooking. To me, this is what is becoming more and more trendy. For us product is the most important , the best quality and the source of origin. We cooperate with Polish farmers and proven suppliers from Italy. Always when it is possible we use products which are from ecological and balanced cultivation and that is what counts for young and conscious generation.
Bellavita : Social media is buzzing and consumers are constantly on the lookout for new trends, what trend would you most likely predict will be big for Gen-Y in 2018 with an emphasis on Italian food. Is there a dish you love to cook that you want to share with us?
Marzena : The most popular dishes are the ones that are returning back to their roots , including previously forgotten or overlooked produce such as kale. Poland also really enjoys working with fusion cuisine, such as Polish and Italian, but also maintaining an emphasis on traditional recipes and techniques such as those we use at Chianti Kregliccy.
Bellavita : What excites you the most about working with WorldFood Warsaw and Bellavita Expo? What should people expect from your masterclass?
Marzena : What excites me the most is the possibility of eventual meeting with the Italian suppliers and producers. Gaining their unique insight into products and flavours, to add them into my dishes and menus. I would like to present during my show that the simplicity could be very attractive. I will be demonstrating on stage how to properly prepare the gnocchi; using a traditional recipe and another with the touch of modernity.