Gastro Scene in Montenegro - Culinary Show Edition
Interview with Sanja Golubovic, Editor in Chief of Caffe Montenegro Magazine
One of our favourite journalists in the country, award winning Sanja Golubovic, is a person with whom our team collaborates for years and we just love what she does and achieves with the Caffe Montenegro Magazine, where she is Editor in Chief. Caffe Montenegro is a unique magazine on our ground, as it's the only one dedicated to the travel and hospitality industry, filled with only quality content, when it comes to both - visual and textual!
We are so happy that we finally took some time to talk with Sanja about one of her hobbies, as she will be hosting a culinary show at the Regent Porto Montenegro hotel on July 4th. You can make your reservations here.
So let's start!
MG: You write about food, drinks, the development of our gastro scene, family households and luscious hotels, however, how do you get along in the kitchen? How often do you cook?
S: I can not write about anything I can not see, taste and feel. Writing to me means transferring of tastes, smells, experiences, drawing with words, fabulising events to an almost movie-scene experience so that the reader wishes to feel and experience the same! Food is the hardest to describe, to communicate the taste of something that the reader has not tried yet! I'm writing about food because I love food, I enjoy it, and new flavors are awakening adrenaline curiosity and blinking chilliness inside of me. I write about food because I appreciate its creators, from those in the field to those in the kitchen - I love to know the chain and the process from the plant to the table, from the sea to the table... Do I cook? Yes, with joy whenever I find the time and I'm familiar with it since childhood as I grew up in a family where you were obliged to be a great student and to help in maintaining the household, even if it was only by peeling potatoes or some other small thing... My mother was and is a housewife model for me - successfully managing her job and our home! She taught me that learning is compulsory, and the cooking as well, as part of the basic culture of living. My first steps in cooking were completing the almost-ready lunch if I came from school earlier then my mother came from work. Later, I slowly took over the entire meal alone, of course under the supervision of my mother. I love experimenting in the kitchen but my mother did not allow it, we kept her great recipes with no variations on the subject. And actually, some meals, especially our traditional ones, should be prepared by recipes hundreds of years old, because that's why they are good. But, my independence has brought me the opportunity to experiment and I am the happiest when I see the blessed smile on the people's faces I have prepared the meal for. You can not lie to like a dish if you do not like it - it's like holding a luscious lemon in your mouth and saying it's sweet... I can't do that! I'm not conceited in cooking, but neither insecure because I have really enhanced taste receptors and perhaps even rigorous. But, I am grateful to anyone who puts some effort to please somebody else with their food. I'm glad to have learned how to prepare Montenegrin national dishes from the north: kacamak, cicvara, pita with the hand-made crust... It took some physical strength for these dishes because there were no kitchen appliances like today that do half of your work... But, I like these appliances today because they provide the ability to focus on creativity and aesthetics of dishes and allow you to experiment. I'm also interested in exotic cuisine and spices, but I am a fan of European, especially Mediterranean cuisine.
I use groceries I find in the fridge to make a delicious meal, that I invented and I definitely think everybody should try this. A bit of olive oil, spices and combinatorics... Et voila! The dish is here! Anyway, I cook by the feeling or something like that.
So, to go back to my vocation, writing about food is difficult if you do not dare to taste new flavours, and it is difficult if you do not know, do not want or do not like to cook... Of course, I do not consider myself a cook, it is a serious profession, I am a journalist that knows about cooking. My lifetime and work require me to eat in restaurants more than I cook by myself, which is a good thing because I know well various menus of Montenegrin restaurants but, sometimes I crave cooking because of this. When I crave cooking, I go and spend the whole weekend in the kitchen of my family in Niksic - I enjoy cooking and my family enjoys my meals. Is there anything better?
MG: You cook at Regent on July 4th - how did you come to this idea and what can we expect from this extraordinary fusion of Caffe Montenegro Magazine and Regent's culinary team?
S: When I received the call from the award-winning culinary team of Regent Porto Montenegro to participate at their Live Al-Fresco cooking event I was really pleased and honoured. They are a culinary dream team, and their F&B Manager Željko Knezovic is a real superstar boss. It is not that we meet for the first time, I know their accomplishments and I appreciate their cuisine, which never stops to entertain and amaze me. At the Regent Porto Montenegro Hotel, I tasted some of the most magical dishes and without any subjectivity, they raise a high ranking and challenging level of gastro-knowledge for everyone on the gastro scene in Montenegro. And now I get to cook with them... It's like someone's going to let me play basketball with the Lakers team.
I know how the Regent's kitchen team functions - it's ubiquitous, accurate, precise and with perfect timing, and I have just enjoyed their performances so far, writing about their dishes, and now we will cook together. It is my honour! I consider that these kinds of moves come with special openness and cordial hospitality and unconstitutional attitude, because if you share you will gain. They let me go into their sacred kitchen soil and I will know how to appreciate this. I was once in that kitchen at the culinary team building, and then I left convinced that they unselfishly share their knowledge. It is not true that big Chefs are big because they have secrets, as those who discovered the secrets of their dishes made them a cult and self famous and written.
The goal for guests on July 4th is to be satisfied and I'm sure they will be. Will we surprise them? We will. How? This is the secret that will be revealed at the event.
MG: Is this your first gourmet show, and can we expect a series?
S: I cooked a dish of my choice on a TV show, I enjoyed it. It was a long time ago. There is even a book of that series in which my recipe is written. I participated in a competition with colleagues journalists, went to some nice workshops... But, the culinary show at the Regent Hotel is the first I'm participating in a leading role. It will be fun because the cooking is fun and it will be a special experience for me too, as cooking in the comfort of your home is one thing and it's totally different when you need to do it in the restaurant of that level... So, wow, it will be a show!
The series? This is my first episode and even if it stays on this one I am happy. I'm not a cook, I have no pretensions to be an amateur-cook blogger, I keep up to my profession, I write about good food, share good recipes of good Chefs and great housewives from all around Montenegro. I'd recommend Regent to go live from their kitchen from time to time and that can be a series ... I would enjoy it as always when I am there. Their show is constant!
MG: Your vision of the current Montenegrin gastro scene, opportunities for improvement and the future of the same?
S: In recent years, the opening of luxurious tourist complexes and serious investments in the catering sector were engines that have taken a more serious approach to gastronomy, and restaurants that open are setting up their gastro concept in advance and not the reverse, as it was before: the restaurant opens and they start looking for a Chef after the opening...
Raising the wine culture to a higher level has also driven the gastronomic story, as well as the intensified initiative to preserve and revitalise authentic recipes and to promote them in restaurants and rural households. The demands of modern tourists put gastronomy at the top of the list. They are asking about the gastronomy of the destination they intend to visit and Montenegro is taking up the movement with contemporary tourism trends, and good food is always trendy. Tourists carry the memory of the tastes like the most memorable souvenir! There are a lot of potentials for our diverse country to develop, upgrade and promote its gastronomy, and the best thing to do this is to offer quality that we have on the coast, the lakes, the rivers, the mountains...
Despite the culinary trends, the cuisine of a country is a reflection of it, of its nature, and nature has given us enough. Modern presentation following the perfect execution of dishes, new contemporary approaches to food ingredients with the preservation of old recipes - this is our gastronomic chance. Restaurants in the neighbourhood have got Michelin stars and it makes it closer to us... I have a feeling that the first Montenegrin one will shine in the very near future.
MG: Thank you, Sanja, this was great! Read readers, enjoy!