How Budapest has helped a great diet

(CNN)- in the meantime Budapest It may be known primarily for its architecture, geothermal hot springs, and communist heritage, but the city’s gastronomic scene has increased considerably. Travel It has been attracting attention in recent years.

The Hungarian capital is constantly open to new and exciting fine dining. Many are led by prolific chefs who are enthusiastic about injecting imagination and fame into the Budapest dining experience.

The two restaurants in the Hungarian capital have earned new Michelin stars in the last 12 months alone, bringing the total number of Michelin-winning facilities in Budapest to six.

This is a pretty notable turnaround, as Hungary just won its first Michelin star nine years ago.

There is no doubt that the culinary revolution is underway with “Pearl of Donau”, but what is the cause of this fast-growing movement?

A record number of tourists and a booming economy are undoubtedly playing a role.

It is no exaggeration to say that fine dining is not always a high priority for locals suffering from communist austerity, as Hungary’s difficult past is well documented. ..

“Hungary has always been a pretty poor country,” explains Hungarian food critic Andras Jokuti. “So the main goal of Hungarian cuisine was to stay alive. It was very important to have a lot of protein and carbs-it was based on potatoes and meat.”

Cooking movement

Miguel Vieira of Budapest restaurant Costes tells CNN Travel why they make great creative food.

Changing this perception has been a long process and continues today. But the flow is definitely changing.

Portuguese chef Miguel Rocha Vieira believes this is partly due to the easier availability of high quality ingredients in the country over the last decade.

“I have to buy butter from abroad [before] There was no good butter here, “he told CNN.

“Now everything is completely different.”

Vieira heads Raday Street-based Costes and was in charge of the restaurant when he won the first Michelin star in the country in 2010.

He arranges classic Hungarian cuisine in a contemporary style and offers a set menu of 4-7 courses with different wine combinations.

Jocti feels that Vera brought the dining scene to life by incorporating both Hungarian and Portuguese influences into his cuisine early on.

“When Miguel arrived in Budapest, it was just like the beginning of the story of a fine dining restaurant in Hungary,” he says.

When Viera came to Hungary many years ago, she knew little about Hungarian cuisine and often admitted that she was “struck by critics.”

“My food has changed a lot,” he adds. “Now I can proudly tell you that my stamp is on the food.”

“One of the biggest compliments we can get here is when someone says,” I felt this dinner had a personality. “

The VIERA is trying to incorporate Hungarian tradition into cooking, but this is not the “ultimate goal” and the Michelin star is not in mind while in the kitchen.

“I always tell the boys,’We should cook ourselves. We should do what we believe in.’ It’s not about cooking for the award,” he said. Adds. “I’m not looking for stars or recognition.

“It’s the cherry blossoms on the cake, but that’s not why we work 14, 15, or 16 hours a day.”

Modern interpretation

Budapest restaurant chef Tamas Szell stands in his contemporary interpretation of traditional Hungarian cuisine.

Hungarian chef Tamersh Sassel is famous for mapping Hungarian cuisine in 2016. At this time, his modern interpretation of traditional cuisine won the gold medal at the prestigious “Bocuse d’Or” competition.

Szell and co-chef Szabina Szulló lead Stand’s kitchen, which won the first Michelin star in March of this year, using a cooking method similar to Vieira.

“Cooking is the best communication between chefs and guests,” Szell tells CNN.

“I hope our food contains sweet memories from childhood. When I cook, it should be accepted by both our grandmother and Michelin inspectors. This Is the most difficult [part] I think. “

Following the success of the Market Hall Bistro Stand 25, which Szell and Szulló co-operated, the stand opened in Budapest in 2018.

“My inspiration definitely comes from my childhood,” he adds. “My mother said,’We are poor, but we are living well.'”

According to Sel, his fisherman’s soup, which includes carp, paprika, water and a small ravioli-type pasta called Delaya in Hungary, is the second most popular soup after goulash.

“When I was a kid, my mother often did this,” he explains.

Szell’s cooking seems to have the desired impact. The stand, based on Székely Mihály Street, has been a huge hit since its launch.

In fact, Jokuti describes it as a “perfect Hungarian restaurant” and praises Szell for his ingenious ways to soften the richness of traditional Hungarian cuisine.

“I think this is his greatest achievement, somehow recreating tradition in a modern way,” says Jokuti.

Szell procures dairy products from a small farm just outside Budapest. The farm supplies several fine dining restaurants in the city.

Within 48 hours of milk coming out of the cow’s udder, it is returned to the stand in the form of cottage cheese.

“I think the material is the most important,” Szell adds. “Good ingredients always try to find a chef, and chefs always try to find the best ingredients.”

Find out why Budapest’s restaurant Babel is a unique feature of the city’s culinary scene.

Located in downtown Budapest, Babel It is one of the most recent Michelin-starred restaurants in the city.

Relatively small, with about 12 tables, exposed brick walls and dim lighting, it offers an intimate dining experience.

Inspired by Hungarian tradition and the Transylvanian region of Romania, Istvan Velez offers a tasting menu of 5-10 courses using simple ingredients such as nettles and lichens.

Beres says cooking is not a passion for him, but an “attachment” and explains how to dream of cooking and try to make it happen the next day.

“In fine dining, you have to do something special, unique. You put your soul on the plate,” he says.

“I’m not afraid of new things.”

According to Jocti, it is this fearlessness that makes Beres such a pioneering chef.

“Istvan’s tastes aren’t that easy,” says Jocti. “I’m always surprised, so I love going to Babel.”

Basic ingredients

Salt aims to be the next Michelin-starred Budapest restaurant.

Courtesy Salt Budapest

It’s the new dining facility that wants to repeat the success of Stand, Babel and Costes. salt, It has been open since October.

It is run by chef Szilard Toth and manager Mate Boldizsar and often serves food to those who eat.

Toss regularly goes looking for produce in the Hungarian countryside and returns with all sorts of edible enjoyment.

“We find so many basic ingredients that the average chef doesn’t really see very often,” Toss tells CNN.

“This means we can introduce a world of flavors into our cuisine. It’s a wonderful combination of flavors you won’t find anywhere else.”

The chef’s table is located in the middle of the restaurant, so diners can ask questions about cooking and watch Toss and his team behave.

The dishes are presented simply and some do not require cutlery, allowing customers to choose the Hungarian wine pairing menu to complement their meals.

Salt’s team is proud to turn basic produce into a fine dining restaurant, which is full of jars containing fermented or pickled vegetables found in the woods.

“There is a course called greasy bread,” says Boldizsar. “In its original form, it’s a very simple dish.

“Bread with fat. Bacon, caviar and lambskin.”

It will be known over time whether Salt will earn the coveted Michelin star, but restaurants seem to outperform those who eat in a short amount of time.

“He [Toth] It shows that it is possible to make a very modern meal from very hedonistic, but sometimes humble, but very Hungarian ingredients, “says Jokuti.

A restaurant like Salt would have been unthinkable in the Hungarian capital a few years ago.

Its emergence underscores the adventurous direction the city’s culinary scene is currently taking.

“It’s really fascinating to witness these times with Hungarian food,” says Jokuti.

“I have traveled a lot and visited some of the best restaurants in the world. It’s amazing to see that I can go home and dine at these great restaurants.

“No.’Okay, not so good, but at least in Hungarian.'”

“It can be joy and excitement. We have achieved a very good level.”

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