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Tomaž Kavčič

Gostilna pri Lojzetu

The Picasso of Slovenian cuisine who exhibits top ingredients and local tradition in a new vision of exceptional dishes.

About chef

The playfulness of a child is hidden behind the wit of the energetic Kavčič who brings a smile and satisfaction to his guests’ faces.

Kavčič is the fourth generation of hospitality workers, and his dishes derive from his childhood memories, the legacy of his mother and grandmother, the respect for the tradition of the Vipava Valley. His grandfather taught him about good raw ingredients, and Kavčič still buys them himself. He prepares them with great care and a sense of creativity, resulting in an aesthetic piece of art reminiscent of the works of great Cubists. Although, beef soup, jota, potica or strudel are disassembled and then put together in a completely different form, and wine may be crunchy, the flavour, which comes first, remains original.

Favourite dish
Crunchy bread with fresh, see-through sliced Mortadella and fresh cheese

When he behaved well, his grandfather rewarded him with a sandwich in Gorizia on Wednesdays.

Favourite ingredient
Soul

Soul is the spice of every dish. One can’t cook well without it.

“I’m happiest when a person steps into our house as a guest and leaves as a friend. In addition to high-quality ingredients, I place a high value on human relations. Slovenians differ from others mainly by their genuineness, warm-heartedness, enthusiasm, accessibility,” says Kavčič, who many consider a superstar. He has cooked for royals, world politicians and business people, entertainers, sportspeople, etc. Guests from near and far arriving by helicopters, airplane and yacht visit his Renaissance manor. He’s one of the founders of culinary tourism in Slovenia. Kavčič doesn’t differentiate between his guests; the satisfaction of everyone is important to him, children’s too. “I’m proud when children ask their parents to bring them to our restaurant for lunch.”

Tomaž Kavčič
Photo: Peter Irman, Gostilna pri Lojzetu Archive
Creativity is more important than innovation, but it must not prevail over the basics. The dish and flavour come first.

Kavčič has deep respect for ingredients. The Slovenian slow food movement, which strives to protect local culture and tradition, was founded in his restaurant in 1994. For this purpose, Kavčič, among other things, invented the salt grill technique to preserve basic flavours with the help of nature. The JRE awarded him for innovation in 2017, and he is also proud to be ranked 99th on the Best Chef Awards list of the top three hundred chefs in the world in 2018.

Gostilna pri Lojzetu cuisine
Photo: Peter Irman, Gostilna pri Lojzetu Archive

The warmth and soul of a person create an ambience. One must work in a kitchen, but don’t close yourself in there

“I don’t like restaurants where one’s afraid of doing something wrong. A guest visits us to spend their money and time, so they have to feel comfortable. It’s up to us to provide them an experience and relaxation,” thinks Kavčič, who is always in good spirits. “Hospitality is a way of life. It takes a lot from you, but it also gives a lot. You get to see interesting places and meet different people. I enjoy it because it fulfils me. My wife, daughter and mother Katja, who is still in the restaurant, support me.”

Kavčič was born into this business since his great grandmother and great grandfather opened an inn for cart drivers way back in 1897. His grandmother finished a cooking school with the nuns in Trieste and further educated herself in a nearby hotel. She always highlighted the importance of hospitality and care for the guest and the knowledge of the basics. “Without rules, the basics, there is no cuisine. If one doesn’t know how to make a good beef soup, then other dishes won’t be good either was her rule,” says Kavčič who impressed the Chef of the Century, Joël Robuchon, with his deconstructed beef soup. Due to his vigour and immense creativity, Kavčič is frequently invited to various presentations, workshops and congresses, such as Identità Golose, where he cooks together with the likes of Ferran Adrià, Heston Blumenthal, Quique Dacosta, René Redzepi, and Massimo Bottura.

“When I create dishes, I return to my childhood; there always remains a child in us and it’s not good to chase that away,” of that Kavčič, who once competed in motocross, is certain. But it was somewhat natural that he would become a cook instead of a professional athlete. “I was never pressured at home. But as a child, I was constantly there in the inn, helping, absorbing knowledge. There was a period when I regretted not having trained under an important chef. I’m happy now that I didn’t because I was able to develop my own style,” says Kavčič, who is always looking for new ideas to develop into something outstanding. “There must always be ideas. If I’m not bored, guests won’t get bored either.”

Photo: Gostilna pri Lojzetu Archive

Chef's Restaurant

Gostilna pri Lojzetu

One of the best Slovenian restaurants. A world-famous chef. An idyllic mansion. An endless love for cuisine.

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