els - fromHawaii to New York. For me, as a six-year-old boy, my father was the best storyteller. Inspired by his adventures, I always wanted to help my mother in the kitchen, to see if I could repeat some of those recipes he’d talked about in our kitchen.” While we’re on the topic of the world, which cities would you choose if you were to take us on the most exclusive culinary journey? “I found my own hidden treasure chest in the Balkans. Although in culinary schools we all learn about French, Italian, Greek and other famous cuisines, for me the flavours of the Balkans are a real gastronomic revelation. What delights me in your region is that it is such a large territory with such rich and diverse cuisine that is almost entirely unknown in the Netherlands, or around the world. Thanks to my work, I discovered the Balkans and I delight in every new opportunity to enjoy your specialities, which usually have names that I can’t even pronounce (laughs).” Has the pandemic changed the way we eat? “TheCoronavirushaschangedeverythinginthekitchen and in nutrition. My hands already hurt from being washed a hundred times a day. It seems tome that hand cream sellers have profited the most from the virus. In a social sense, everything is different. The rules are very strict in the Netherlands, and on set the standards of preventative health and safety measures are extremely high. When it comes to nutrition, it seems to me that the coronavirus has led to us returning to some healthier fresh foods and traditional dishes for the whole family. That’s what delights me and is a kind of trend that I hope will continue even after all this passes.” Is there a secret that guarantees a successful and delicious meal? “Of course! Always experiment and don’t hesitate in taking on challenges. Whether that relates to an idea born in your head that you’d like to realise in your kitchen, or an already existing recipe that you want to modify with a few of your own little things to turn a classic treat into a new wonder of the world for the taste buds. I like to experiment, and I consider that to be the main spice of life.” Do you still like kajmak milk curd and ajvar bell-pepper chutney? “Oh, yes! If you askme, any dish can be on the plate, but if it comes with a side order of kajmak and ajvar it doesn’t matter what it’s like - it immediately becomes a top speciality. Kajmak and ajvar are the two most important ingredients in every dish (laughs).” Are there any of our specialities that you have a desire to prepare and eat at home? “I’ve tried many dishes from the Balkans. Slovenian Prekmurje layered pastry, Serbian ajvar, kajmak and many other dishes, as well as Bulgarian tarator salad etc. I find all these flavours fantastic and I happily prepare them in my home. I hope that in the future we’ll shoot a show exclusively about flavours from the Balkans. I’ve already discussed that with the leaders of the 24 Kitchen channel. I think a single culinary journey to all of your countries would be a great culinary sobering up for Europe. Until then they can enjoy your Vasa cake, which I often happily make at home, with minor changes to make it a little lighter. And we presented that in the sixth season of the series Rudolph’s Bakery.” Cooking for you is a pleasure, a hobby, but not a job... Do you still think life is like a treat? “Food is a great pleasure for me, not only because of the tastes, but also because of the joy it brings people. I like to entertain people with my cooking. And at this moment I most miss that part of the “treat” known as cooking. There is no socialising because of the coronavirus, so cooking loses its charm for me. I can hardly wait tomakedinner for allmy friends.That’swhatmakes me happy. For me, that which are notes to a musician are the ingredients I use tomake treats for all those who want to enjoy them.” Dok se smejete, svaki obrok je savršen, čak i brokoli sa čokoladnim mrvicama Every meal is perfect while you’re laughing. Even broccoli with chocolate sprinkles 26 | Intervju » Interview INTERVJU / INTERVI EW