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Celebrity chef Chiarini exploring Slovenia, looking for talented cooks

Ljubljana, 2 August - Gianfranco Chiarini, the Michelin-starred celebrity chef from Italy, has made a stop in Slovenia as part of his tour of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Chiarini, who is delighted by Ljubljana and is keeping his eyes open for quality cooks to join his international chefs' network, has talked to the STA about his cooking philosophy and preferences.

Ljubljana
Michelin starred celebrity chef from Italy Gianfranco Chiarini visits Ljubljana.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
Michelin starred celebrity chef from Italy Gianfranco Chiarini visits Ljubljana.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Visiting with his wife, Chiarini is impressed by Ljubljana, which he said was a "must-see", as well as by the quality of services.

The international chef celebrity from Ferrara is looking for cooks for potential cooperation and exploring local tastes and food producers.

Chiarini swears by local food made from authentic ingredients: "Molecular cooking is not for me. Throwing a fabulous piece of angus beef into a blender together with some powders and getting a ball is not cuisine in my eyes."

"For me, cooking is when a chef knows where the ingredients are from and when he gets his hands dirty in the kitchen," Chiarini said.

He was excited to hear about Ljubljana's Odprta kuhna (Open kitchen) culinary market, which is organised each Friday afternoon and is thinking about returning to Slovenia despite his packed tour schedule.

A master of Italian nouvelle fusion cuisine, Chiarini noted that while Italians are very proud of their cuisine, it is mostly based on "pasta, tomatoes, rice and basil", which "are all things that were brought to Italy from other continents centuries ago by Marco Polo and other seamen".

He feels the tastes of Eastern Europe and the Balkans are authentic and worth exploring, arguing that Italian or French cuisine for instance are not so famous globally because they would be better but because they had better marketing.

Chiarini, who carries a little vacuum food sealer with him on his tour to store local products, added that the current political and social situation in the west will also encourage tourists to start turning to the east and that this could present an opportunity for Slovenia and the wider region.

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© STA, 2016