Respecting our roots and applauding to the Traditional Cuisine Chef

11/06/2021

Mojca Trnovec from Gostilna Mihovec has been awarded with the title of Gault&Millau’s Traditional Cuisine Chef for the year 2021. She is a true personification of family tradition, classic homemade dishes, improved even more with a hint of modern freshness.

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“The award is a wonderful surprise. I was quite stunned to see the eminent culinary company, which I am now part of. On the other side, this is a recognition of everything my predecessors, especially my grandmother Ivanka, have done a long time ago - more accurately, since 1857 when this restaurant was opened,” says Mojca. She still uses old house recipes that have been transferred from one generation to another. “These are recipes which are hard to change and should therefore stay as they are. Not every dish needs upgrading, because it has its own character, like the walnut potica. If you upgrade it, then it is no longer a traditional dish but a derivative. On the other hand, we have old recipes which we have adapted to the modern way and needs of eating. I wouldn’t say that our predecessors ate better, but they definitely had different, healthier eating habits.” Mojca believes that Slovenian cuisine is much wider and more diverse as we give it credit for. Sometimes, this also means that it is more demanding: “Because of practical reasons, new cooking techniques have emerged are still used now. In the same way, old traditions of using each ingredient from top to bottom are coming back to modern cooking.”


From all the family recipes, she loves Aljaž’s stew with dumplings most because it smells of marjoram and savory. Spring is her absolute favourite time of the year because this is the season when they start working on the family field. It is when her ancient love for earth wakes up - the love she also saw in her grandmother Ivanka: “She always said that earth and nature are our mothers and I truly believe this is true. Sowing represents a fresh start, a new cycle that is completed with a great harvest and the vegetables that come from our own fields are something completely different.”

Apart from continuing the family tradition and leading the restaurant, Mojca also got the opportunity to share her vast knowledge of Slovenian cuisine to young chefs in front of the cameras, showing children how a chef’s work is intertwined with nature at all times. She has revived her teaching skills and they give her much joy and fulfilment.