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Jorg Zupan

Restavracija Atelje

A culinary traveller who combines techniques from around the world with the flavours of Slovenian ingredients.

About chef

Jorg is a chef who cooks from his heart, as he is guided by his endless passion for techniques, flavours and ingredients.

He is constantly discovering his love for cooking anew. When he went to Vocational College of Hospitality and Tourism Maribor, he discovered that cooking is a wonderful and creative job in which you can succeed and the options are endless. His cooking experiences are rich, although as a child he wanted to be a baker. At least, that’s what his mother says. His dream has grown to be much more than this, although sourdough bread is still his greatest pride.

Favourite dish
Fried bread

Fried bread slices remind Jorg Zupan of his childhood, when his mother used to cook them.

Favourite ingredient
Salt

Because it is important. So important that he also adds it to his desserts.

Chef Jorg says that people instinctively seek balance in “savoury” dishes, giving desserts that contain hidden salted peanuts, pistachios and even fleur de sel as examples. “There’s nothing better than a dark chocolate ice cream with fleur de sel,” he states. Since he believes that good ingredients are crucial for good dishes, he picks them carefully – considering the season, quality and freshness. He picks herbs, ferments, makes soy sauces, miso, and yoghurt, bakes break and cooks jams. He likes traditional French cuisine, while Asian cuisine inspires him.

Jorg Zupan
Photo: Atelje Restaurant archive
My job is to offer guests healthy and balanced food.

When creating new dishes, Jorg is guided by ingredients: “Our nutrition must be balanced, which is why I prepare such food for my guests. Not every course in tasting menus, for example, can contain carbohydrates.” For this reason, it is very important for a cook to know various techniques and how to process a certain ingredient to achieve a certain flavour. The more experience a cook has, the more ideas they have.

Creative gastronomy in Atelje Restaurant
Photo: Suzan Gabrijan, Atelje Restaurant archive

If you learn how to make marshmallows from a book, they are tasteless

Jorg’s cooking path is diverse – by experience and mileage. He left Slovenia to go to Ireland, Australia and Great Britain. His cooking biography includes three Michelin-starred restaurants: Pied à Terre in London, Bloomenthal’s The Fat Duck and Norwegian Maaemo.

He knows various cuisines, work methods, people and principles according to which the kitchen works. He faced his most challenging experience at Pied à Terre, where he worked for a year in a cellar kitchen without windows for 16 hours a day and only slept four hours a day. Workdays were marked by constant action and communication by yelling. He says that it was a military education, although through that experience he learned the most: “If you want to learn, you must work under pressure and learn the basics. That is the essence of everything.”

Currently, he creates in Atelje Restaurant, formerly Smrekarjev hram, in the centre of Ljubljana. He says that tasting menus are fading away, as people want à la carte dishes that they can share and a relaxed atmosphere. There is no shortage of that under Jorg’s leadership and many people are pleasantly surprised when they are welcomed to Atelje by tables without tablecloths, soft jazz or hip hop, waiters and waitresses with rolled-up sleeves and a different type of service. Services that his guests can identify with.

Speaking of guests … they include Hollywood stars such as Bill Murray and John Malkovich. But Jorg’s greatest star is the captain of a ship originally from Switzerland, who visits the restaurant every New Year’s Eve and makes a reservation for the following New Year’s Eve. And he has been doing so since the restaurant first opened.

Photo: Ciril Jazbec, Tent Film

Chef's Restaurant

Restavracija Atelje

Bistro ambience and remarkable cuisine in the strict centre of Ljubljana Simple, but perfected in all aspects.

Read more