Chef Dobri - our new culinary star
Chef Dobrin Ivanov is our new culinary star. Aged just 33, Chef Dobri, as everyone in the hotel calls him, has a solid 8 years background as a sous-chef and chef in high-end hotels in Bulgaria such as Grifid, Festa, Grand Hotel Varna and four seasons as a cook in the Bavarian Alps where he received priceless training and experience in one of the best classic restaurants in Germany „Kloster Ludwig der Bayer”. In 2016 Chef Dobri was awarded the first place at a prominent culinary race in the “Traditional Bavarian Cuisine” section. This recognition helped prevail on Dobri’s decision to return and settle in Bulgaria and seek opportunities to apply his knowledge and spread his potential in Borovets.
What’s the memory from your work in Germany you cherish the most?
Chef Dobri: My contact with such a world-famous master Chef as Peter Josberg who was also my mentor in the culinary race. I can’t keep from bragging a bit and say that in „Kloster Ludwig der Bayer” I cooked for many notorious figures such as Angela Merkel, Pope Francis, Queen Elizabeth II.
How would you define the “taste” of your menu?
Chef Dobri: I have no favorite cuisine or product. I like experimenting with various quality products and preparing amazing things in terms of taste and vision. I update my knowledge on modern cooking techniques from the world’s culinary literature, specialized blogs, exhibitions and membership in professional associations.
How do you create a balanced menu for a hotel of over 400 rooms every day?
Chef Dobri: It is not easy but my work on a riverboat in Germany helped me a lot. Guests are different but they are all looking for quality. This is why I focus on seasonal and regional products because this is what our guests want. The menu for the buffet style meals (where the main guests’ restauration happens) is set up in a way that for a 7-day stay there be no dish displayced repeatedly on the menu and we diversify things even further by organizing each day different theme evenings – Balkanic, Mediterranean, Asian etc.
My special creative space is the à-la-carte restaurant “Samokovi”. This is where I have the opportunity to create signature cuisine. The restaurant receives even the most demanding guests in a refined ambiance and together with my ambitious team we do our best to provide for them a true culinary experience. The favorites on our current seasonal menu are: Sweet potato and wild porcini muffin, “44-hr sous vide” pork knuckle and Slow cooked Rila Mountain trout, served with Samokov potatoes
Outside our seasonal menu we stage special gourmet evenings like the one we had last Saturday. It was a wine dinner and all seats were booked in no time. We shall keep staging such special à -la-carte dinners till the end of the season.
Would you share some inside “cuisine secrets”?
I have had some hard moments in my professional life. Often I need to improvise. A really stressful situation I recollect now was a boutique 5-tier wedding cake for 150 people. When it was delivered at the restaurant it was like the leaning tower of Pisa. I had to “rebuild” it and have it served half an hour later.
What does cooking represent for you?
Cooking for me is passion and love. Being a Chef is not a mere profession. This is how you live, how you feel, this is a mission. It requires a lot of energy, discipline and dedication. But it is also truly gratifying because it takes you to the magical world of culinary art where I spend all my life. And the best part of it is that you want and can share it with others.