I’m from Latvia. Originally from a small town of Saldus. But I grew up in various places because of my parents work. I spent my first years of life in deep Latvian woods. Probably that’s where my love for the wild comes from. We had a garden and a few farm animals. Everything else was foraged (berries, herbs, herbal tea, mushrooms). Later on my studies took me to the capital of Latvia. Riga. But it had nothing to do with culinary. After graduating from the Institute of Technical Translation… I understood that this profession isn’t for me. I was looking for something with the least amount of responsibility – and wound up in a kebab place. Long story short – I fell in love with food and eleven years later (of working at various restaurants in Latvia and some in Norway) I’m named one of the best chefs in the country. My cooking has changed very much over the past four years – I’m going (slowly, but steady) back to my roots – the wild, the foraging, the garden, the farm, the simplicity.
Can you tell me about your day at work?
It’s pretty simple – I run each and every service during the winter time, do a little planning for the future.
In summer and autumn I take some time off for foraging and gathering stuff and supplies, so that we can survive the winter months. In other words – I try to live and run my restaurant as if it was 100 years ago.
What was the first dish that you’ve done as a chef?
I started my career in a kebab place, so it’s probably a Donner kebab.
Who is the model for you to follow?
There are many. Any chef who thinks alike and has the same point of view, is someone you can learn from. Not just the big names.
Do you have your dream place where would you like to work?
I have a small future plan of a country side house with an open kitchen where I can run pop ups from…
Do you cook at home?
No. It’s done by my wife, and she’s good at it.
What would you prepared for me in 10 minutes … i mean some food ;-)?
Since there’s a time limit and this implies that you/we are in a hurry, I would suggest to grab some snacks. That’s what they for.
What would like to have as last meal in life?
My mother’s beet root soup with smoked pork.
What flavours you are most faithful?
I use only what’s available at the particular moment.
What do you think about current trends in gastronomy?
It’s a question that I have to answer often. I don’t see the new Nordic cuisine as a trend. A trend is something that passes, something that is set by someone for profit. In this case we can put really simply – the new Nordic cuisine is a philosophy that allows you to be yourself. And that’s what I’m doing. I don’t cook Italian or Chinese, simply because I’m not Italian or Chinese. I cook food that is rooted in my culture.
What was the most important moment in Your professional chefs life ?
The day, when I understood who I am and where I stand as a cook.
Do you want to make your children have gone in Your footsteps / chefsteps ?
I think there’s too much trouble and negativity around us, because we want to inflict our ego on others. So I believe that my daughter will choose what’s right for her.
Private lives there? How it looks like?
My wife used to run the front of the house in a different restaurant, that’s where we met. Now we have a child and she’s at home mostly, while I work. But she understands me, because we come from the same background.
What was the funniest situation at the kitchen, is it some fun there ?
It’s always fun. Cooking should be like that. If you can’t enjoy what you’re doing, what’s the point? None.
What advice do you have for young cooks?
Since my instagram profile is public, all the information is to be taken and used by whoever wants to. There are also masterclases and lectures at a local culinary school.
In which country is, in Your opinion, the most beautiful/interestig kitchen ?
Every place is different and that’s the beauty of it.
Photos on your instagram, are so beautiful. Are you doing it ? is it a long preparation ?
I just reflect what I do, exchange information with other chefs.
photo: Dzintaras Krostovskis