We caught up Jorg Zupan & Matjaž Zagradišnik after an amazing Valentine’s Day edition of Chef’s Night at Cattaro Hotel. The Slovenian chef and wine professional shared their thoughts on dining, fine wine and what it was like to visit Kotor and Cattaro Hotel.
What was your first impression of Kotor when you arrived in preparation of Chef’s Night? Your first impression of Cattaro Hotel?
JZ: My first impression of Kotor was that it’s a gorgeous city, especially the Old Town, which is truly something special – with walls, squares, the church and the fortress. Cattaro Hotel is also very beautiful and I really like the theme of maritime paintings which decorate the halls and rooms.
MZ: When you’re driving on the road to Kotor, one thinks “wow”, and with every kilometer it becomes more and more interesting. When you arrive to Kotor and see that super beautiful place surrounded by hills filled with history, you’re left simply without words – it’s very beautiful. Honestly, Cattaro Hotel surprised me with how much you feel the history in this place – it’s unbelievable. I like the design, the position, the rooms are incredible and you feel as if you’re in a palace of some sort.
How much is atmosphere important for a good meal? What do you believe to be the most important details for a good meal?
JZ: The most important details for a good meal are the ingredients and foodstuffs. The cooking techniques follow next… but without the highest quality ingredients, there are no highest-quality meals.
What is your favorite dish- and where have you eaten your finest meal?
JZ: I think that the best dish doesn’t exist… perfection doesn’t exist!
What do you consider to be good wine?
MZ: If you ask me, there is no bad wine. All wine is good, it’s only a matter of personal taste. For me, personally, good wine is that which has not been experimented upon by the winery. Instead it’s clean, genuine wine that must be honored.
What are your three favorite varieties of wine?
MZ: My favorite wine… hmm… there are many of them. I love wine from Clai Winery in the Croatian region of Istria. Also, Carolina White from Jakončič Winery and for a sparkling wine, Bjana Rose from the Gorizia Hills.
How do you see the future of food? Or which new trends in fine dining will be even bigger in the next few years?
JZ: I think that this trend of “natural” food and the concept of “less is more” stayed with us for a long time, which makes a lot of sense. Molecular gastronomy was like a wave that came, added some useful techniques to the craft and left. But fermentation, investments, local ingredients and the relationship with the people who carry these foodstuffs (butchers, fishmongers and farmers…), that’s something that makes a lot of sense. It will last much longer than any trend.