Where I eat in Krakow: Łukasz Cichy
He is the head chef in Biała Róża - an upmarket restaurant serving Polish cuisine. But in other Krakow restaurants, is on the outlook for simplicity. Łukasz Cichy recommends his favourite places in Krakow.
It is my wife who always talks me into having breakfast in town. We usually go to Wesoła to have breakfast, coffee and - when we manage to send our 4-year-old son to grandma's - a glass of bubbly. I like this place for its simplicity and originality, cordial service and good coffee. Despite its rather inconvenient location, usually the place is full of chatty, happy people.
Besides Wesoła, we also go to Karma. The distance is manageable - it is just two tram stops away, but above all, it has great coffee and my favourite carrot cake. There are many other cafes around, but none of them have such unobtrusive service and great climate.
Sunday dinner: Karakter
I usually sit at my own table for a Sunday dinner. First, we have my mother's chicken broth, then the mandatory pork chop. If, however, I decided to change this habit and visit one of Krakow's restaurants, it would definitely be Karakter. I have a soft spot for Daniel Myśliwiec's cuisine - the proof for that may be the fact that I proposed to my wife in Zazie.
Snack: fries, pizza and sushi
When I want to have nice time with my son, we go to grab some Belgian fries with Danish sauce. My wife eats "kumpir": a baked potato with toppings. Another important point of our culinary trips is Pizza Garden, which, to my delight, has moved to Lubicz. Sometimes we eat sushi in Nago - my son will eat the rice and we eat the rest.
We both like to visit Euskadi with my wife. I sometimes dream of opening such a small, cozy place where you can meet your guests face to face. I only manage to do so during tasting dinners. On other days, there is too much work to talk to guests.
For several weeks we have been planning to visit Michał Cienki's Art, and I think that this will be the best place for our next date.
Good cake: Oskar Zasuń
I have sweet tooth, so I often bake at home. What I make is completely different than what restaurants offer – it is rather simple, usually involving the use of what currently is in the fridge. I like making something out of nothing, for example oatmeal cookies. But to all who enjoy sweets like me, I have to recommend Oskar Zasuń. Only at his place my son asks for a helping, and this is the best recommendation.
A place to rest: my home
I work 23 days a month, often 11-12 hours per day. This is not the simplest profession in the world, but I enjoy it a lot. I take a break from being a chef at home or during trips abroad.
The dish that I associate with Krakow: caraway dishes
Until recently, the owner of Biała Róża was Urszula Kania, who came from the Lodz region. She hated caraway, which, as I noticed, is often related to where one grew up. I love caraway, which is very popular in Małopolska cuisine, and is perfect for soups. Recently, for example, I prepared a great caraway cold soup. These territorially conditioned culinary preferences are interesting. When I worked at Soul Kitchen with Andrzej Polan, we liked to serve cucumber soup with rice for lunch to Varsovians, who would normally eat potatoes with such soup.
The chef that inspires: Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse, the Roca brothers
What I appreciate in their work is that they use a variety of techniques, often unused in local cuisine, but they always put emphasis on local produce. I am inspired by Polish home cooking, but also classic French or Spanish cuisine. All the time, however, I want to present the flavours that I grew up with.
Łukasz Cichy worked under the supervision of Adam Chrząstowski, Andrzej Polan, Andrea Camastra and Robert Sowa. His cuisine at Biała Róża is a mix of tradition and modernity.