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Kristian Zule

Stara gostilna

A youthfully bold, responsible and complete chef who does not hide his ambitions.

About chef

Kristian Zule - Kiki became the youngest Slovenian chef to receive a Michelin award in 2021. Although he may seem shy, he is determined, responsible and innovative in creating his dishes.

His cuisine is based around creatively reimagining the culinary past of the surrounding area. He uses quality seasonal ingredients based on authentic tradition in order to mould the culinary future, all the while being aware of the importance of his circle of suppliers, since the main star of the kitchen is and always will be – the ingredient. He wants to serve his guests only the best that nature has to offer at a given moment.

Favourite dish
Čokolino (soft cereal flakes with chocolate)

Because it is simple, energy-rich, essential in a time of intensive development, and is even said to have superpowers.

Favourite ingredient
Present inspiration

He chooses that which is in harmony with how he feels, though he loves to combine ingredients that most people think would not fit together.

Kristian’s culinary journey began at the Secondary School of Hospitality and Tourism in Ljubljana. Even then, he always stood out. At the age of sixteen, he set out to hone his culinary skills at the Cubo restaurant in Ljubljana. As he never hid his ambitions for becoming a chef de cuisine, he was quickly offered an opportunity at the Stara gostilna in Piran. He understood the owner’s vision, interpreted it in his own way, and began building a new story.

Chef Kristian Zule
Photo: Stara gostilna archive
Good food and nutrition is a constant adventure for me, with the keys being risk, context and memory, because in the end, the only thing that counts is - was it good?

Despite focusing on the local, his research playground encompasses the whole world. When creating his cosmopolitan dishes, he is also aware of the importance of a comprehensive experience. In addition to the food, wine accompaniment and the choice of drinks, ambience and service are also important. Only if all these elements are in harmony will the culinary experience be complete.

dish at Stara gostilna
Photo: Dean Dubokovič, Stara gostilna archive

Building the perfect culinary experience for every guest

In the kitchen, he never lets up on his standards and does not allow any form of carelessness. That’s why his plates are always perfect – just the way he painted them in his mind. He is fascinated by the natural processes of fermentation and food storage. He personally tends to pickling and drying produce, as well as the preparation of reductions. That’s why even in winter, the enchanting flavours of summer, when the Mediterranean is at its most beautiful, can still flourish on his plates.

He is constantly on the lookout for new flavours and new boutique suppliers of raw materials and ingredients that inspire him and contribute to his ever-expanding knowledge. His biggest challenge is following trends, while at the same time recreating them in his own way in order to attract guests with his distinctive style. He is practically allergic to copying ideas, as he says every chef’s plate is a signature that isn’t hard to recognise. He likes to play with flavours and ingredients, but his favourite thing to do is break stereotypes by harmoniously combining ingredients that most do not think go together.

He wants to impress and amaze the guests, to create a unique culinary experience for them, which they’ll be telling their friends and acquaintances about for a long time. However, he remarks that there is much more to a success story than just the talent of a chef. What’s important is the support of a great team, transparency, hard work, a lot of sacrifice and, ultimately, a love of culinary creation.

Photo: Dean Dubokovič, Stara gostilna archive

Chef's Restaurant

Stara gostilna

Just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of the Piran waterfront, and far away from having a classic seaside offer.

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