Kalla „al dente”

By: trademagazin Date: 2009. 04. 05. 08:00

Kálmán Kalla, former chef of Gundel, the best known Hungarian restaurant retired two years ago, but has recently become active in gastronomy again. – Which side do you represent in the deeply divided world of Hungarian chefs? – It’s terrible to see this conflict, especially because I have friends on both sides. I would like to see someone accepted by the majority leading MNGSZ – if such a person exists. – You have joined local programs of Ecole Lenôtre and the Bocuse Academy, but what is your opinion of the aspirations of MGE? – There is nothing positive in these. I can’t imagine how anyone could agree with declarations that our cuisine is obsolete and our traditions are worthless. – Is the current standard of our gastronomy as good as it had been under your mentor, Egon Eigen? – It has seen tremendous development since then. We would no longer be able to sell what we were doing then. – What do you think of being regarded as a conservative? – Not true. I have done a lot for the renewal of Hungarian cuisine, but there are innovations which I cannot accept. – Once you have said, that if a smaller part of Gundel was turned into a separate restaurant, it could get a Michelin star. – I still believe that you cannot reach a Michelin star standard when you are cooking for 200 guests. In Gundel, we had everything we would have needed to serve 30-50 guests at that standard, with selected staff and working in the evenings only. – You have your own little guest house in Sümegprága now. Are you enjoying it more? – When I used to be in charge of 30-50 people, I had no time to cook. This I can do now. I am also free to use different ingredients now which I enjoy, often cooking only for my friends.

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