Interview: the simply “simple” chef Daniel Struna
The inspiration for pear sorbet with caramelized sage leaves was given to us by chef Daniel Struna, with whom we like to chat on a daily basis as well as cooperate. He cooks almost forgotten meals in their most tasty versions. He is an opponent of oven-ready meals and any instant foods. He is currently working for the La Casa Argentina restaurant.
I became interested in Daniel because of his culinary ethics and of his extraordinary interpretations of ordinary recipes. He gave me the impression that he is a man of healthy self-confidence who values himself, his work and his abilities. He characterizes himself as a man going against the stream of the current gastronomic scene in Prague.
I asked him then to share some of his secrets with us and we arranged a meeting at the Angelato café.
The first question was, however, raised by Daniel. How do I make the caramelized sage?
Well… , caramelized sage should be crispy, but be careful, do not over bake it, it would lose its magic. And don’t forget the 1:5 ration of sugar vs. sage. Do you have a meat grinder? Grind it, don’t beat it. Laughter…
Do you enjoy talking about food?
I talk mainly about food, it’s more cheerful than politics.
What brought you to this profession?
I basically grew up in a kitchen, so the choice was clear.
What cuisine do you like?
I like good, fragrant cuisine. I don’t have any national preferences. In every cuisine there are interesting and amazing meals.
How do you create new meals?
I don’t think I create anything really new, everything has already been here once. I like well-established, time-tested methods. I hold on to this order when it comes to a meal’s expression: 1. aroma, 2. taste, 3. visual sensation.
I don’t like effect for effect’s sake and useless over-embellishment. The genius lies in simplicity.
Ad Fontes – “to the sources”.
Do you ask guests how they like your meals?
If possible, I like to find out our guests’ reactions. Without it our job would make no sense.
Are you what you eat?
I’m not sure about that, I myself eat very simply, so perhaps I am “simple”. Laughter….
Where are you going for lunch today?
When I’m free I like going to the farmer’s market by the Kobylisy Metro Station of the C underground line and have a piece of smoked meat from Budislav and a pint of beer. I don’t cook at home very much.
What ice-cream are you going to have?
Pear with caramelized sage and definitely pistachio.
So this is simply “simple” Daniel Struna, a chef from the world in which instant soups are not made. A practical man with a lot of witty comments.