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Klavdij Pirih

Kendov dvorec

Universality in cooking and a special attitude to aromas are the traits of a chef with a distinctly artistic soul.

About chef

Klavdij Pirih decided on his career in the fourth grade of elementary school. However, to this day he does not know why.

He thinks that his artistic streak pushing its way out was to ‘blame’. Cooks are artists in a certain way, much like painters or musicians: “If you are an artist by soul, you automatically choose a job related to this. I don’t have an ear for music and I can’t draw, so I soon discovered cooking.” He experiences food, flavours, and aromas in a very sensory way, which can be tasted in his dishes.

Favourite dish
Minestrone

He likes simple vegetable stews because you can eat them every day.

Favourite ingredient
Basil

Its scent always makes him happy.

Chef Klavdij has a special attitude to aromas. They have a considerable impact on him, as they remind him of past events and give him ideas for new dishes and combinations. Ideas are not born in the kitchen, but rather in a place where a person can relax. “Aroma is closely connected with colour. If you take colour away from an ingredient, it loses its aroma. For this reason, I always try to keep it as natural as possible, not to overheat it or process it, and not to exceed its capacity.”

Chef Klavdij Pirih
Photo: Robert Zabukovec, Kendov dvorec archive
“When I create new dishes, I’m rarely wrong. I know flavours to the point where I don’t have to try everything in advance. For me, aromas are like paintings.”

A new dish is not created overnight. It stems from an existing dish. “You can combine new ingredients or plate them anew. Seasons also play an important role. People like lighter dishes in the summer and filling dishes featuring meat in the winter when we are more melancholic. A completely new dish is hardly ever created, and that’s when you have to stand out from the crowd. If you are self-critical and not satisfied with everything, it can take time. If you are fair to your guests, you must be more self-critical than they are critical of you. You must use your full potential and not be satisfied with the first try. This is a process. At first, there is desire, an idea, which matures for some time. Because you nurture, shape, and create it for a longer period, you can appreciate it more.

Cuisine in Kenda Mansion
Photo: Dean Dubokovič, Kendov dvorec archive

Although I work in a small team, I can carry out very complex projects, which require good knowledge of organisation.

Klavdij is a very universal cook, as his cooking knowledge is profound. “I like making desserts, as you can whip up a good atmosphere on a plate much more than with other courses. A challenge I’m always happy to tackle is also vegetarian dishes, as they require more cooking knowledge.” He even used to create sculptures from butter. For example, a 70-centimetre-high cave girl, for which he used 40 kilograms of butter. Klavdij says that he can use this to express himself differently.
He believes that cooking is learning: “If you are mentored by a good or even a top chef, it’s much easier to learn. If you are self-taught, it takes longer. Cooking is work and compliance – that you are willing to learn. Anyone who is open-minded can pick up something from everyone.” A good cook must have plenty of creativity and persistence to keep up the pace: “If you don’t like this job, you won’t do it. You have to like it for the working hours alone.”
But the cooking antics inside and outside of the kitchen are fun. Like the one when he and another cook each made their own dough – Klavdij for žlikrofi and his colleague for krhki flancati. Both types of dough were kept in the same fridge. Klavdij took his dough and made žlikrofi. A guest, who was his acquaintance, asked him: “Klavdij, did you put rum in žlikrofi?” He firmly claimed that he didn’t and he even joked about the guest in the kitchen, saying that she probably had one glass of rum too many before lunch. Then his colleague began making flancati and found that Klavdij made žlikrofi from his dough.

Photo: Kendov dvorec archive

Chef's Restaurant

Kendov dvorec

Idrija cuisine that will not leave you feeling indifferent

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