BIG BERRY Chef: Leon Oberstar
Leon Oberstar was cooking at BIG BERRY Kolpa River Resort as our 7th BIG BERRY Chef. His talent for cooking is known countrywide, ever since his performance on the TV show Masterchef Slovenia. Though he humbly sees himself as an ‘amateur chef’, I see in him the passion and talent that make him different from amateurs. He normally cooks in small scale - quality before quantity - pleasing only a few people at a time. He accepted our invitation to cook a high quality 3-course lunch for 25 people comprising our current guests and staff.
“Luxury of freedom is maybe the freedom to think - to think for yourself - and not be misled by others.”
Leon’s lunch menu started with a tabboule as an appetizer, that is, bulgur with refreshing tastes of parsley, coriander and lemon. The main dish was trout fillet, rice with fennel and orange reduction, and a savoury sweet sauce made of fish reduction. The vegetarian menu comprised falafel complemented with Leon’s special tahini. At the end we satisfied our taste buds with Leon’s wonderful Macarons, made with white chocolate-lavender filling and blueberry cheese cake filling. Our partner Tik-Tak Cafe provided icecream for the dessert.
„I think, I can feel all the flavours somehow mixing in my brain before I put them on the plate, and in the end, they work out...“
On top of making lunch, he also accepted our newest BB Chef challenge: we gave him a mystery box full of ingredients. Its contents were kept secret from the chef until the last minute. In the mystery box, he got a variety of spices to choose from and 6 products from our local partners: Salami and cheese from Kmetija Totter, pasta from Domačija Šrajf, oils from Oljarna Pečarič, ghee from Zlati Ghee, BerryGhee.
“I think in the kitchen you have to improvise... I really mix different flavour profiles, and sometimes just throw something together, and see how it works out.”
He managed to improvise a lovely little meal for our judges in just a matter of minutes. This challenge of improvisation was well suited for Leon’s creative and intuitive style of cooking. Without hesitation, he planned an experimental vegetarian sauce to go with the pasta. With oriental seasoning (like garam masala and chili) he adjusted the flavours in favor of Harsh Gukta, our guest blogger from New Delhi.
How can he cook a tasty dish on the first try without knowing the ingredients beforehand? As Leon put it:
“You should not be afraid to try new things. You should be really open-minded, but at the same time, patient.”
written by Bertold Berenyi