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Svetozar Raspopović

Gostilna AS

A cult and cultural restaurateur who swears by light food, the fragrance of fresh spices and a bottle of good wine.

About chef

Svetozar Raspopović – Pope adores people and contact with them. That is why he is happiest when guests leave his restaurant satisfied.

Guests must be entertained and talked to, which is something that a chef doesn’t usually have time for. Therefore, Pope says that he is not a cook, but rather a restaurateur, which is an upgrade from a cook. He is someone who has the will and opportunity to travel around the globe, broaden horizons and taste various cuisines. He is someone who devises a recipe, buys raw ingredients and teaches people with a pan. Last but not least, he is someone who looks guests in the eye and thanks them.

Favourite dish
Pope pasta with some anchovies in olive oil

Because it is simple, affordable and each ingredient adds to it.

Favourite ingredient
Tarragon

A typical Slovenian aromatic herb, which is not known elsewhere.

A dish must have four components – freshness, texture, aroma and body. If it has the components, the dish is rounded off and good. It is similar with wine. Pope has been a winemaker for 45 years and he likes to draw parallels with this field: “My wine has suitable freshness, body, texture and the Karst aroma.”

Svetozar Raspopović
Photo: As Restaurant archive
“My job is to hold the cook’s and the guest's hand and connect them.”

Pope’s knowledge is endless, but his social touch is his wealth – the fact that he can be in contact with the greatest world leaders, such as Vladimir Putin and Bill Clinton, and can adapt to them. Cooks are not taught that and chefs don’t usually know how to do that. But Pope has excelled in it for years. He has no problem chatting with all his guests, be it a president or a salesperson. He also gladly shares his recipes. He just creates off the top of his head.

Plate with egg
Photo: Janez Pukšič, AS Restaurant archive

You go to a restaurant to taste what you cannot taste at home.

Pope doesn’t make up new dishes: “I see a dish, experience it, and then adapt it to my mindset, taste and the tastes of my guests.” The plate before him must be so tempting that he starts eating immediately – served with taste and culture. “Not a mishmash when someone messes around with the plate for 15 minutes.”
Pope is 70 and has been learning about food and wine for 45 years. He says that cooking is a gift: “At first, you need a strong will and love for cooking. After that, you must travel the world to broaden your horizons. Money isn’t value, it’s the broadness of spirit that counts.” He has been sticking to this since the first day of his path in hospitality, when he explored Italy each Monday.
He only cooks at home. He says modestly that he likes to roast something good for his friends. He swears by healthy food and counts the calories of every meal, as his philosophy is that success comes from a healthy body and balanced hormones. The formula works, as Pope is very vital and works effortlessly from the morning to the late evening: “I love life and people, and always look for value in small things, which I upgrade so that they become big.”

Photo: Janez Pukšič, AS Restaurant archive

Chef's Restaurant

Gostilna AS

The legendary Ljubljana restaurant has been pampering with its ambience, hospitality and excellent food for decades.

Read more