This month we spoke to chef Jacek Koprowski, the head chef at Osteria Fino, an Italian inspired fine dining restaurant in Poland. Osteria Fino's menu has taken a huge inspiration from Italy and each dish gives Jacek’s own extravagant interpretation.
With Veganuary approaching, where meat-eaters give up meat for the month of January, Jacek shares with us how he loves to combine unusual foods, and surprise meat eaters with his impressive watermelon tartar.
What is it about Italian food that you love?
"I love the simplicity and terroir, the dishes are not over complicated and the ingredients are all around they have everything that chefs need. I love Italian passion for cooking and tradition."
Where do you get your inspiration from?
"I go to the market and I check what’s in season, then I ask what will be in the next two weeks lets say and with this information I start to change the menu. I also read and watch a lot of books from foreign chefs such as Massimo Bottura, David Kinch, Thomas Keller, Philip Howard."
What can people expect when they visit your restaurant?
"A casual atmosphere and fine dining on the plate, I love unusual combinations. Now I cook a lot of plant based dishes.
"It's fun when you give a meat eater a watermelon tartare both compressed and dried, prepared as well as beef and they do not feel the difference."
How did you end up becoming a chef?
"To make the long story short, it was a coincidence."
How is being a chef during this time?
"It's difficult, it's hard, as a chef it's a problem because you put the same things on a paper plate and the dishes go for 10-20 minutes by car and you don't know how it will finish when the customer opens it in his house. The other thing is that you can't take the full restaurant atmosphere home."
What’s been your best experience as a customer?
"My best experience so far was Rozbrat 20, fine dining restaurant in Warsaw and Sztuczka Fine dining restaurant in Gdynia, both with marvellous tasting menus."
Advice you can give to a chef who wants to work at your restaurant?
"Be patient, stop talking, start doing, work hard and THINK!!!"
If you could give any advice to your younger self what would it be?
"Everything has it's time I wouldn't change anything, I'm here and that is a fantastic feeling!"
If you had to pick one dish to serve what would it be and why?
"Beef tartare, fresh and pickled strawberries, oyster mayonnaise, crispy potatoes.
"It's all me on the plate, meat combined with seafood then fresh and pickled fruit, crispy potato and Franciacorta or local wheat beer in your glass."
What is your favourite ingredient to work with and why?
"I love polish 'kashubian' strawberries, sweet juicy and meaty, when I eat it I know that summer is here."
We will be sharing more chef stories as part of our project, so keep your eyes peeled! Join us on social media for updates.