Mirka van Gils Slavíková is a Czech-born confectioner, holder of the prestigious French diploma Master of Confectionery Arts. She launched her successful career in 1980’s Communist Czechoslovakia, but the country soon became too small for her dreams. She first moved to South Africa and later to the United States, where she ran a popular pastry store. Today, Mirka van Gils Slavíková lives in Holland, and besides baking, she also appears on various TV programmes, writes books and teaches. She is currently one of the judges on the Czech edition of
Sofia Smith is a British-born chef of Irish-Malaysian heritage, who has been living in Prague since the late nineties. She started her career at the British Council and has since become one of the most respected experts on Asian cuisine in the Czech Republic. She is currently Executive Chef of Cafe Buddha in Prague’s Vinohrady district. That’s where I caught up with her to discuss her life in the Czech capital. I started by asking what made her leave the IT sector and pursue cooking professionally.
Icelander Davíd Arnórsson has been a baker all his life. He ran a successful bakery in Iceland, but always dreamt of setting up a business abroad. Two years ago, he moved to the Czech Republic, opening a bakery called Arctic Bakehouse at Prague’s Újezd, together with his friend and business partner, Gudbjartur Gudbjartsson. Their sourdough breads and Nordic pastries became an instant hit with both the locals and tourists.
The late Václav Havel is famous around the world as a statesman and symbol of human rights and democracy. Rather less well-known is that Havel was also a very enthusiastic cook. This year many of the dissident-turned-president’s recipes were gathered in a rather delightful cookbook entitled Kančí na daňčím (Wild Boar on Venison).
On Friday people all around the Czech Republic began celebrating Saint Martin’s Day, which falls on November 11. According to a Czech proverb, it is the day which brings the first snow to the country. In recent years, however, the day has mostly been associated with the arrival of the season’s first wine and with the traditional feast of roast goose.
Corporate catering businesses are on the rise in the Czech Republic, with more and more fast food chains and food retailers delivering their products directly to companies, the news site e15 reports. In-office catering is mainly intended for business meetings or trainings but it is also used as one of the benefits for employees. According to e15, Czech companies and institutions spend billions of crowns annually on corporate catering.
Kampot Pepper, a gourmet pepper sought after by chefs around the world, comes from Kampot province on the south coast of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Klara Dohnalova and David Pavel discovered it on their first trip to the country and soon set up a business aimed at bringing Czechs a whole new culinary experience. Their company Pepperfield offers a luxury line of black, red and white Kampot pepper that is guaranteed to spice up any dish. They came to Radio Prague’s studio to talk about their enterprise and started out by telling me what inspired them
Two Prague restaurants have reason to celebrate, having retained their Michelin one-star status in the 2018 Main Cities of Europe Michelin Guide. La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise in Prague’s Old Town can boast holding its one-star-status for over a decade, while Field, one of the world’s least expensive Michelin-starred restaurants, has maintained it for three years in a row.
Josef Maršálek was born in a tiny Moravian village where half the residents were his direct relatives – and the nearest shop, let alone patisserie, was beyond walking distance. Yet, his early love of baking would one day lead him to become head pastry chef at the world-famous Harrod’s department store in London. Now, after a sabbatical of sorts in India, he’s back in Prague, gearing up to co-host the Czech version of the wildly popular show the Great British Bake Off.
If you visit the Czech countryside at the start of the year you are likely to receive an invitation to attend a "zabijačka" – in other words a pig-slaughter feast; a centuries old tradition that is still observed in many parts of the country. While for some it is a barbaric practice that has no place in the present-day, for others it is an important part of village folklore that brings people together.