WHO AM I WHO AND WHOSE COOKING?WHO AM I AND WHY DO I COOK?
I am Grześ, and I am extremely lucky to be living by the Polish seaside. After my short adventure with studying art and drawing I have discovered my true, apart from my wife, love and its artistic expression – cooking. Preparation of food, after thoroughly thinking about my life, was always associated with happiness, closeness and sense of fulfillment. This blog is kind of a cookbook, a notebook, in which I note my attempts to find flavours, to which I want to come back in the future. It is the basis of inspiration and information for everyone interested in what I create.
DID MY FAMILY COOK A LOT AT HOME?
Yes and no. Around Christmas Time my mom cooked a lot of amazing meals, which were always reserved just for that magical time. I remember that she could spend hours creating in the kitchen. After all these years I know, that she often cooked out of obligation more so than from her own passion. It was a very traditional family model – dad was not allowed in the kitchen, while my mom was in there cooking. In food and its preparation – from the first idea for the meal, the selection of ingredients, through the type of cooking used and the final appearance of the plate – In all of this I am most interested in expressing myself and through that the happiness, which can be passed onto others. The next important moment in my life and my cooking adventure and the discovery of my passion was my sister – and her experiments in the kitchen. She introduced me to new, different flavours – asian noodles, fastfood from outside of Europe, and fancy delights from the countries of the Mediterranean.
MY FOOD IS NOT TRADITIONAL POLISH FOOD – WHY?
I always say that I seek my own tradition. I have a deeply set need for experimentation in my cooking. I would say that my traditional cuisine is everything that I am able to create and enjoy. Some people say, that I don’t have enough experience, but I rather look at it differently – I don’t have limitations and structure that confide me and my creativity. From the traditional Polish cuisine I learned about contrast in flavours which are prepared with a large amounts of umami, as the centre point of the meal. Sauerkraut and sweet carrot presented with smoked undertones of homemade sausage. Butter soup with gooseberry syrup and fried tomatoes. Sweet beetroot with caramelised onion with garlic broth-based soup and crunchy bread. You can think of many combinations, and one thing is sure – these flavours combinations and their discovery are addictive.
HOW I DO NOT COOK REGIONALLY FOR A CHILD FROM A TRADITIONAL MINING FAMILY OF SILESIA. WHERE IS IT COMING?
I say myself that I am looking for my tradition. My roots are the need for an experiment. I would say more my family kitchen is everything that I can assimilate and taste. Some people say that I am poorer for the lack of a workshop, and I am trying to look at it as a lack of structures that I do not have to deny. Essentially, from the Silesian cuisine I have drawn large contrasts of taste, which usually go hand in hand with a large dose of umami, as the center of the dish. Sauerkraut and sweet carrot served with smoked tones of homely sausage.Buttery soup with the addition of gooseberry syrup and a fried tomato. Sweet beetroot with caramelized onions served with intensely garlic soup of stale bread on the broth. You can multiply these specific combinations, but one thing is certain – these flavors addictive.
CONTRASTS, AND MY AESTHETIC – WHERE DO I GET MY INSPIRATION FROM
Food – for me – experiencing it by cooking it and consuming it with our close ones – is one of the most amazing things in life – it is nearly a mystical experience. I have a deep understanding of just how multidimensional is that experience. This understanding of flavour makes me pay a great deal of attention to ingredients, seasoning, but also the way of presentation of the meal, the plates, the background and the objects around that plate. null
I COOK BUT NOT EVERYTHING. I REFUSE TO USE PRODUCTS SOURCED FROM ANIMALS. WHERE DID MY CHOICE TO ADAPT A VEGAN LIFESTYLE COME FROM?
Since I was 14 years old (I am 24 years old now) I was interested in vegetarianism and vegetarian diet (as you know it is a diet that excludes meat and fish) with various effects. When I was 16 years old I reduced my weight by 16kg thanks to vegetarian diet. I began a more holistic approach of caring for my organism. After coming back to a ‘traditional’ way of eating for a short while , I stopped eating meat and have not eaten any meat or fish for the past three years. I have adapted a vegan lifestyle (vegan lifestyle is an ideology which includes excluding all animal products ranging from food, clothing, cosmetics to entertainment types that use animals) with my wife a year and a half ago. We came to this decision when we learned about health benefits of plant-based diet, and about the unethical treatment of animals in the food and ither industries. Additionally adapting this kind of lifestyle can lessen the impact we have on the environment. We are happy that by changing the way we live, we are healthier, we are rarely sick, our doctors say we are in excellent shape and we don’t contribute to the exploitation of other animal species.
I STARTED MY BLOG ONLY WHEN I HAVE STARTED BEING A VEGAN. IS IT A BIG LIMITATION? IT IS DEFINITELY EASIER TO FIND MORE RECIPIENTS/FOLLOWERS WHEN YOU COOK IN A ‘TRADITIONAL’ WAY BUT…
…but for me food and cooking is not just about earning money and promoting myself. At the beginning I didn’t even realise that it could be a way to earn a living, but let’s start at the beginning.
My first time experiencing food by creating it from an idea that was in my head, cooking it and inviting friends and the joy that comes from it, happened when I was in high school. Up till this point I thought that I might become a painter, maybe a psychologist. I remember when I planned a whole week to cook a chicken with my friends. We were supposed to meet up in my apartment. We were checking the ingredients that we needed to cook the meal. We asked people we knew how we can swap ingredients to ones that are more available. We could forget about getting our hands on shiitake mushrooms, we used some porcini mushrooms instead. We cooked on a Friday to start our weekend, we shopped together for the ingredients, we listened to our favourite music, we cut the vegetables and after cooking the meal we ate and laughed and talked. It was in that moment that I realized that food is the beginning of a dialogue, it is the starting point to amazing, fruitful conversations which brings people together. A thought comes to mind – of the most memorable of feasts – the Last Supper. Jesus saying his goodbyes to his loved ones and the revealing the mystery of faith. It is a highly spiritual experience.
The next important moment was which pushed me into cooking was the necessity of meal preparation when I was on a diet. Most of the ideas I’ve had were plant-based. It was all about healthy and filling meals. At the time I was reading about people and their motivation for being vegetarian or vegan. Back then, definition of my own ideology was very vague. I have gathered a lot of theoretical knowledge and learned various techniques and history of this cuisine at that time of my life.
The biggest breakthrough of my life was the meeting of my wife. She fell in love with a painter, an artist. She saw amazing strength in my creativity. I loved creating small trinkets, drawing and make small presents for her. I really wished that she could experience that side of me – one of my favourite parts – cooking/eating. At first I only took small steps – baking a cake, making uncomplicated salads, finally making whole dinners and organizing birthday parties. This might seem funny, I don’t seem like a shy person now, but back then I did not like to brag about what I have created and cooked – it was not my favourite thing to do.
We got engaged, and we had meetings with a pre-marriage teachers once a week. We made a deal with them that every second meeting we will bring something to eat, and every other week, they will. Our teachers along with my fiancee kept saying that I should pursue a career in cooking. Back then I was working with elderly people, as a printer or in an eco shop and I was comfortable with my routine. But somewhere deep inside me there was a need to do more. We got married, and started living together – that’s when I have grown the most. After three months I have decided to start my blog. I want to show my family and my friends what is my passion and what fascinates me in cooking, what makes me spend so much time at making up new recipes and devote so much of my free time to find more of different and interesting combinations of flavours. At this time I also started understanding how essential the presentation of the food I cook is and I have started investing myself even more.
The blog received a warm welcome from the followers which made me want to do it even more. I have also started to work at a plant-based restaurant. From the kitchen help I have quickly became the sous-chef. I have also on occasions acted as the manager of the restaurant. At this time in 2017, I have been chosen to take part in a Kuchnia+ (Kitchen+) competition – ‘Twoja Zielona Rewolucja’ (‘Your Green Revolution’). The prize for the first place was to take part in one of the episodes of a series created by a known Polish vegan chef – Marta Dymek. The episode is available here – CLICK. It was a dream come true, and the realization of that dream made me put even more effort, time and thought into cooking to make sure that my food is delicious and enjoyable for everyone who eats it. Moving out from Silesia (a province in the south of Poland) turned out to be a start of a new era in my cooking and aesthetics and greatly affected my internet popularity. My biggest dream now is to start a YouTube channel and write my own cookbook
I believe that it is impossible to get closer than it seems to me!