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Luka Jezeršek

Gostilna na Gradu

A lover of the beautiful and the good, who does not want to theorise. Luka seeks inspiration in the traditional recipes of Slovenian cuisine.

About chef

Luka Jezeršek became a cook because he used to live above a kitchen.

Luka’s parents began the family business forty years ago, when his father set up his first kitchen in the garage and began by catering private events. That is why Luka jokes that he was born in the kitchen. The real reason is probably that cooking was presented to all four sons as something beautiful, and that the approach the family still follow today is more the approach of entrepreneurs rather than craftsmen.

Favourite dish
Fried chicken

Even when you are completely full, there is still room for fried food.

Favourite ingredient
Flour

Luka has been discovering various types of flour, from traditional white flour from a mill in Vodice to Italian flour used for pasta and pizzas.

“In the past, you only had two options: wine – red or white, cheese with or without holes, flour – brown or white. These are the things we discover by layers. I’m thrilled when I test pizza flour with a low gluten content and find that it really is just that,” he explains his view and exploration of cooking ingredients. Luka is well aware that cooking is such a broad term that he cannot know everything about it. He leaves it to the experts and sticks to his field. “Why should I have a go at things I don’t know about? So, for example, if we are talking about vegan food, I prefer calling Tereza Poljanič.”

He says that he picks the highest quality ingredients, be it Slovenian beef, the croissants he gets from France or an auction of barriques of the Vinakoper wine cellar.

Chef Luka Jezeršek
Photo: Dean Dubokovič, Jezeršek archive
“I like the old classics. I sometimes feel that we are making a mountain out of a molehill.”

“My philosophy is: don’t theorise. Everything has been developed, the question is only in what shape you form it. Many cooks see from the kitchen to the counter for dispensing dishes, but I see further than that. I want to know what a guest wants, because if a guest doesn’t understand our top cuisine, we haven’t done anything. For this reason, I always put myself in their shoes and start from there,” he presents the process of food planning, in which he first enquires who his guests are and what they expect. This gave rise to Jezeršek’s šmorn, which was revived from the past. It has become so famous that it is even desired at weddings, sometimes immediately after the church ceremony.

dish by Jezeršek
Photo: Matic Kremžar, Jezeršek archive

We have a different approach. We build on the family name, not the name.

The Jezeršeks are a company and a brand. It is no coincidence that you cannot see the inscription Luka Jezeršek anywhere. They intentionally stepped away from the story in which Luka comes out of the kitchen the minute a guest comes through the door, while the other Jezeršek brothers await them behind the counter with open arms and a bright smile. “We have a team of people, who are our long-term employees and always know who the guests are and are constantly in contact with them,” he explains the approach that is perfectly natural abroad, but still raises eyebrows in Slovenia.

Catering, four restaurants, and two bars require a system. He grins as he draws parallels with fashion: “In the autumn, we create our spring collection. Salespeople need photos and calculations. Everything local and seasonal must be included. Ana Šušteršič, head of development, points to the direction we will follow. Then it’s the creative team’s turn, including me, to design dishes.

The credit goes to the team that makes sure that when guests leave, they say to themselves: I had a nice time at this restaurant. Cooks frequently get all the glory, while waiters are forgotten. “In reality, waiters are their extended arms, as well as the people who clean the restaurant and those who purchase ingredients. They are all part of the team,” says Luka, who is also comfortable with his television team at MasterChef Slovenia. “We’re a great team and get along nicely. Our relationships are sincere, we supplement each other, and respect the fact that we all have our own businesses. We are soul mates and can be very relaxed around each other, which is always accompanied by plenty of laughter.”

Luka’s heart is with catering, which is the Jezeršeks’ main activity. They also cover large and complex events. He particularly fondly remembers an event for Fly Emirates when they opened a new route between Zagreb and Dubai. “I liked it because the client knew exactly what they wanted. Representatives, singers, and prominent guests from this region of Europe were invited, and the goal was to present excellence. Food was an important part of the event although not crucial, taking the whole story to a high level,” he refers to frequently experienced cases when organisers forget about important details: “Then guests say that the food was excellent, but their transport after the event wasn’t properly organised.”

Photo: Matic Kremžar, Jezeršek archive

Chef's Restaurant

Gostilna na Gradu

Gostilna na Gradu will take you down memory lane to the experience of your grandmother’s cooking.

Read more