Rafal Bernatowitz – BernonTable

Why wood carving?
Having graduated from the School of Handicrafts (field of study: Woodware), I thought I’d never work in this field and for many years I was connected with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Warsaw, and at the same time I studied Archaeology, History of Art, and then Film. The years I spent in a dynamically developing capital made me realise that my dreams were somewhere else completely, and that I could combine my fantasies about a family life in the village, in a log house, at the edge of Puszcza Biała, beyond “the ambitions of the city”, turning to and, much to my surprise, finding again, or maybe for the first time in my life, such a huge joy in creating and having contact with wood. Combining this passion with my other great passion I’ve cultivated over the years, which is cooking and gastronomy. I’ve been cooking since my childhood, inspired by traditional, generation cuisine, and thenI discovered the possibilities of experimenting in this field.

Who is your target audience?
The Bernontable offer is first and foremost aimed atgastronomy. At chefs and owners of restaurants and hotels who have a similar vision of building sensory and sensual gastronomy, based on combining tastes with a skilful and interesting food presentation. In gastronomy, like in life, art is very important. In a restaurant a guest should have the opportunity to experience its essence.
The offer is also targeted at an individual customer. More and more people in our market are consciously combining nature and modernity, and the boards work well with all our Polish,known also all over the world, specialties, like farmhouse cheese, homemade cold meats, and smoked fish. My works are a vastly appreciated decoration for visibly developing culinary passion in home kitchens. Also, more and more customers from abroad are interested in my products.

Which restaurants serve dishes on your boards?
I cooperate with many restaurateurs, which is why every project is custom tailored, often during long discussions and brainstorming; I feel fondness for all of them. I’ve been connected with a few restaurants since the very beginning. One should mention Atelier Amaro, Senses, L’enfant Terrrible, Stary Dom, Papu, Brasserie Warszawska, Radisson BluSobieski Hotel, Hotel Warszawa Augustów, Sheraton Hotel, and many other wonderful places, the list is too long to name all of them.

Your strangest project?
Today I got an order for tiki mugs that will depict curved faces. I also delivered wood that Wojtek Amaro was supposed to prepare for eating. I made ramekins for snails, wooden Ramen bowls, and exterior decorations for cafés. I recollect with great pleasure ash tables to Tel Aviv and the chef’s table for Michał Bryś, made of black oak, dated to three thousand years B.C., standing on the glass plinth.

What wood do you usually use?
Materials I use come from bankrupt sawmills, old orchards, and windfall trees repurchased from various forest districts. I’d really like not to cut down living trees, and to reincarnate the ones that would end up in furnaces. I’m interested in non-standard types of trees and bushes. Walnut is my favourite. Available materials include cherry, oak, ash, acacia, beech, wild pear, and a few others that remain the Bernontable mystery.

photo: BernOnTable

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