Source: eKapija | Tuesday, 31.07.2012.| 16:15
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Goran Kovacevic, chef at Square Nine - Queen Elizabeth was my guest as well

Goran Kovacevic (Photo: lična arhiva)

He never questioned his intuition. Everything he thought to do, he has accomplished. He works up to 80 hours a week, rarely resting, and he spends the greatest time with his daughter. A would-be veterinarian, an astrology lover, has joined culinary world accidentally, but deliberately became a top in his discipline. After eleven years of work at the prestigious London hotel Claridges, last year he joined Belgrade-based Square Nine as a chef.

For eKapija, Goran Kovacevic is talking about his life path from a boy born in Pakrac to a master who cooked even for the Queen of England.

- I did not want be a chef during my lifetime but life made me do so. I finished secondary catering school in Jug Bogdanova Street in Belgrade and then joined catering college in Kosutnjak. I made that choice out of curiosity, and it was the mid-'90s and a lot of thinking about what to do after school - at that time, ads were always looking for more chefs. When I started cooking, I dedicated to it to the fullest – Chef at Square Nine has starting his story for eKpaija.

When managers from Claridges were choosing students for practice in London, Kovacevic left to Great Britain’s capital.

- At the end of my two-year stay, I participated and won first place in the National competition for young chefs, the competitors in the category below 25. Hotel asked me to stay for five years more. I received a citizenship and then doors for big jobs opened.

(Photo: Square nine)

List of great chefs with whom he worked is long and distinguished, followed by top chefs such as John Williams, now a chef in the London-based Ritz hotel, Martyn Nail, head chef at Claridges, Eyck Zimmer, who represented Britain twice at the most prestigious culinary competition, and others.

He coked for many people, and the most important was dinner for Queen Elizabeth in 2002 when she celebrated 50 years of coronation.

- Then I was a part of the team who was preparing dinners in Savoy. Recently, it was 60 years of coronation and I have just remembered the event and reminded again how quickly time passes. I think that almost no one from Hollywood was in Claridges without eating something I prepared.

Kovacevic says our kitchen is not much different from the British.

- British cuisine has developed because of colonialism. Spices, vegetables, fruits came to the island in the middle ages and the British have always been open to new tastes. All the big global names in the culinary world built and continue to build its own name and restaurants on the soil of Great Britain.

On the invitation of the owner of the Square Nine, which opened at the Student Square in early 2011, Kovacevic returned to Belgrade.

- Square Nine hotel is definitely the most interesting and, without any modesty, the best hotel project opened in our country and the region ever and I am really satisfied with my decision to accept the invitation to be part of the team that opened a hotel Belgrade deserved - our source explained the reason for his return to Serbian capital.

(Photo: lična arhiva)

He says he likes to "prepare everything", professionally he is the closest to modern European cuisine, and personally he is thrilled with well-prepared pizza.

- I love Asian cuisine, especially Thai and Vietnamese, and there is a unique Indian cuisine ... From a professional point of view, I find the closest concept for me what we do in the Square Nine restaurant i.e. modern European cuisine.

He showed he is skillful at using ladle in the show, Tito's Cookbook and Kovacevic says maybe we'll continue to watch him at the B92.

He does not think men are better cooks than women, but that cooking is hard work so more men are involved in it which makes them become better cooks.

- When I was in school, if there were 30 men there were 5 women, and wherever I was working there were 80-90% of men in the kitchen. I think this is a difficult job, and sometimes it is 1-2 months without a day off.

Active in his free time

- When with his wife Masa and daughter Anja, we usually travel away at weekends and spend time outside so my coolinary skills rest. I like spending time with my daughter. I like every day to be diffferent when I am with her. I am very active, rarely sit, almost never rest and when we are at home longer than half an hour, we get nervous and start thinking of an action.

(Photo: Square nine)

- I have spent three years in Cypres as a waiter, barmen and at the end I worked in the kitchen, after that nine months in Que passa as the main barmen and then left to London. I really do not have a thing to regret in life.

Every minute fulfilled

He went on holiday to work. In London, these days he has not been showing sports skills but culinary skills at Claridges.

- I go back to Claridges for short i.e. I use my vacation to work. During the Olympic Games in London hotel guest is Rene Redzepi, chef in Noma" in Copenhagen. I was invited too, and will be one of 20 chefs from different parts of the world - our source explained the reason for re-work in a prestigious hotel, a few days before going to London.

He is proud because resisted numerous life temptations and remained a professional and a parent.

- One should expand his horizons in all segmets of life. For example, last year I enrolled MBA at the London School of Commerce, and although there is nothing to do with cooking, it helps me to manage kitchen, people, myself and business in general in better way.

His motto is that every minute should be well spent and that at the end of any day there is no remorse.

- We often forget that life has a shelf life, which however is not written on the packaging, but we have to use it before it expires.

Suzana Obradovic

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