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Janez Bratovž

JB Restaurant

A pioneer of Slovenian top cuisine, master of innovations from traditional, forgotten and less used ingredients.

About chef

Bratovž has been skilfully combining culinary heritage and current expectations into ingenious natural-flavoured dishes for 30 years.

Less is more. It’s quite courageous to serve a guest an egg yolk covered with cracklings. But simple dishes that preserve basic flavour require great knowledge and skills. Bratovž has developed them with determined effort and persistence. He has set down guidelines initially considered avant-garde, but later accepted by many Slovenian chefs.

Favourite dish
Pork sausages with sauerkraut

A childhood memory and delicious pork sausages.

Favourite ingredient
Onion

Simple at sight, but very flavoursome.

His dishes take you back to your childhood when grandmothers found ingenious ways to use less valued ingredients. By using more prestigious natural produce, Bratovž conjures up an elegant and unforgettable experience. “Find your own path when cooking. Don’t care too much what others are doing, and don’t copy them,” is his philosophy. He is considered one of the pillars of Slovenian contemporary cuisine, which is why Gault & Millau Slovenia conferred on him the award for important contribution to its progress for 2019.

Janez Bratovž
Photo: Nea Culpa d.o.o.
Many can cook, but it’s the ingredients that count. The secret is to find them, and then create good dishes.

Foodstuffs must be seen, smelt, felt. So they give you great inspiration to create new dishes. Bratovž’s morning ritual is a visit to Ljubljana’s Central Market and daily contact with suppliers. One must know them well to trust them. It takes years sometimes, he admits. He grows some vegetables in his own field and garden.

Janez Bratovž at the local market
Photo: Tomo Jeseničnik

Simple home-made dishes that his grandmother taught him are the best. He has followed this idea for over 30 years

Bratovž, who as a child dreamed of being a builder, holds with the philosophy “Scampi should taste like scampi”. His grandmother encouraged him to become a cook so he would always be fed and warm. He wasn’t convinced of his decision initially. Cooking in canteens wasn’t challenging enough for a talented young man.

Following the example of his parents who looked for a better future in Germany, Bratovž went to Austria to broaden his horizons. In the renowned Der Tschebull at Lake Faaker See, he learnt new techniques and nouvelle cuisine, which convinced him that cooking was exceptionally creative work. He wanted to share it with his fellow countrymen when he returned to Slovenia, and opened his first restaurant in 1992. With different dishes, he was considered an alien by the first few guests who stared at the half-done venison.

His perseverance with ‘different’ cuisine paid off – as well as the support from son Tomaž, who after an apprenticeship at Arzak in San Sebastian is now helping in the kitchen, and sommelier daughter Nina who works front of house. “It’s important to maintain a suitable standard and not slack off. And learn constantly. Whoever thinks that they know everything can finish immediately,” asserts Bratovž, who has made special connections with chefs such as the star of Japanese cuisine, Hiroyoshi Ishida. The latter said of Bratovž: “I was amazed by the beauty on the plate. It seemed like a respectful prayer to the food spirit and modest acceptance deep within the heart.” And Bratovž respects food. His dishes remain clean, genuine and natural. Far from the phoniness of a photogenic look and concealment of basic flavour.

Photo: Tomo Jeseničnik

Chef's Restaurant

JB Restaurant

Haute cuisine in the centre of Ljubljana.

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